Profits rise at feed and engineering firm Carr’s Group

Pre-tax profits rose 5.2% to £16.3m in the year to 31 August at animal feed, rural retail and engineering firm Carr’s Group.

Turnover for the year was up £700,000 on the previous year, to £403.9m. After accounting for sums associated with acquisitions and one-off costs, adjusted pre-tax profit was up 9% at £18m.

Net debt rose by £12m to £23.8m as a result of the purchase of two further businesses.

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The Carlisle-based firm said performance was moderately above expectations, despite unseasonable weather significantly affecting trading across its agriculture division, which nevertheless saw a slight rise in operating profit to £13.6m.

The impact of the weather on both the UK and US feed markets was mitigated by cost control, manufacturing efficiencies and effective raw material procurement, said the company.

Volumes of US feed blocks were lower as a result of consistently wet weather, but emergence from drought across large areas in the US was expected to be beneficial in the medium term.

The firm bought trace element and supplement company Animax in September 2018 and plans to develop this as a centre of excellence for innovation and product development for the wider agriculture division.

Uncertainty over Brexit and in particular the future trade arrangements the UK will have with the EU and the rest of the world, is increasingly affecting farmer confidence, said the company.

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