Farm supply group Wynnstay has reported record pre-tax profits of £2.87m in spite of falling turnover.
The Welsh-based company posted sales of over £100m in the year to October, down almost £3m compared to 2004.
Wynnstay managed to increase its share of the feed market by buying part of Pye Bibby’s feed empire, as well as cutting costs in its existing operations, but sales had still suffered according to managing director Bernard Harris.
“There’s a bit of a cloud over agriculture at present, so we’re seen as dull and uninteresting but stable.”
With core agricultural business flat, Wynnstay’s fuel, property development and pet businesses were propping up earnings, he said.
Mr Harris has visions of a pet store network to rival market leader Pets at Home, after double digit growth in the sector last year.
Chairman John Davies said core trading remained tough because the move to the single farm payment had disrupted farmers’ traditional buying patterns.
The arable sector was affected by the soaring cost of fertiliser and farmers’ reluctance to commit to purchases.
Volumes were flat or down except for good performance in seed sales, especially of grass seed.
Wynnstay’s retail stores also enjoyed a profitable year, said Mr Davies after the launch of a new-look outlet at Newtown in December.
With the help of Objective One funding from the EU, the firm is planning to build a new feed blending plant in North Wales and a new store in Llansantffraid.