Usborne still on line for recovery

28 March 1997

Usborne still on line for recovery

RECOVERY continues at Hants-based merchant Usborne.

"Fertiliser blending and merchanting have performed ahead of budget," said company chairman, Cecil Parkinson. "This is a commendable result in what has been a difficult market, with prices falling and a reluctance among customers to commit themselves."

Demand was particularly good for site-specific products, backed up with advice on their usage from Usborne subsidiary, Soil Services. The company therefore plans to expand its Southampton importing and blending facilities.

"Weve done well on fertiliser, but not so well on grain," said managing director, Mike Adams. While margins improved on feed wheat, profit opportunities were missed on malting barley. Diminished export opportunities due to a larger continental crop and strong currency was the main reason, he explained.

Overall, Usborne achieved pre-tax profits of £416,000 (up 28%) in the six months to Dec 30.

, on sales of £93m (up 7%). "Prospects look good for fertilisers, but the prospects for grain merchanting are dependant on a good result in the fourth quarter," concluded Lord Parkinson.

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