An uplift in sheep and dairy trade saw turnover and profits rise for the H&H Group between June and December 2019, with the business saying the outlook is “positive” despite the uncertain times ahead.
The Carlisle-based livestock auctioneering and services firm has released its interim results for the year ending 30 June 2020, which suggest it is bouncing back from a ‘turbulent’ 2018/19.
As a result, its 1,100 shareholders will be paid an interim dividend of five pence per share on 1 May 2020.
See also: H&H profits down after a testing year
In the full year to 30 June 2019, the business recorded a pre-tax loss of £371,000, largely because of falling livestock prices and a reduction in volumes.
However, the group’s pre-tax profits for the six months to 31 December 2019 were £302,000, compared to £154,000 for the corresponding period in 2018.
Dispersal sales up
The firm reports that £92m of stock was traded in the first six months of the financial year, representing a 7.8% increase on the year before, with the sheep and dairy sector being particularly strong.
While cattle and sheep values in autumn 2019 remained under pressure, prices have improved significantly latterly, particularly in the sheep sector.
A rise in dairy, pedigree and sheep reduction dispersal have also contributed to the half-year ending ahead of budget.
H&H chief executive Richard Rankin said: “I am pleased to report that despite Brexit and the threat of coronavirus, the first half of the year is showing a much-improved turnover and profit position over the same period as last year and we are expecting the second half to continue in a similar vein.
“Given the unprecedented context we find ourselves in currently, this is extremely encouraging news, and largely thanks to an extremely dedicated and resourceful team.”
Mr Rankin said the rest of the business lines were in good order.
The insurance side of the business, H&H Insurance, was marginally under budget, but had “held its position well” in what was a competitive market.
The slowdown in the housing market was challenging to the property arm of the business, H&H Land and Estates, but the lettings business was stable and the land agency side was growing.