The UK’s largest agricultural purchasing group has announced it is increasing the dividend it pays to its shareholder members this year.
AF Group, formerly known as Anglia Farmers, will distribute a total of £600,000 between its 3,000 farmer shareholders after increasing its total dividend payment by some £80,000 in 2017-18.
The group, which sources 10% of all of the UK’s farm inputs, grew turnover by 9% to £254.5m, up from £234.2m the year before.
Pre-tax profits before payments to members came in at £1.2m, up from from £765,000 in 2016-17.
The company stripped £500,000 of costs out of the business in the past year, reducing staff from 134 to 120, and cutting sponsorship, marketing and third-party spending.
AF chief executive, Jon Duffy, said the results were an encouraging start to the group’s five-year strategy, launched in September 2017, which is targeting improvements to membership numbers, the balance sheet, and financial returns to members.
“We’re moving into a position where we can be confident of withstanding market volatility and agile enough to avoid issues as they arise – as well as provide all our members with real value for money,” he said.