Mergers cost Countrywide dear

By FWi staff

COUNTRYWIDE Farmers made an operating profit of 207,000 in its first year of trading to 31 May, 2000.

However, after interest, tax and exceptional items, that turned into a 3m loss.

The bulk of that resulted from merger costs – the company was formed from MSF and WMF last year – and subsequent rationalisation and development.

Chairman John Bush described the past year as one of fundamental change, against a background of widespread and worsening depression in British agriculture.

“We have endeavoured to position ourselves in those mainstream activities where we can be of benefit to most of our shareholders. ”

However, farmers are still not sure what their stake in the company is worth.

No share value has yet been indicated, as too low a price could have laid the company open to compensation claims.

“The advice from our lawyers was that we shouldnt,” said managing director Ian Smith.

“It is far too early to value the business – we have not settled down into a maintainable position.”

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