By FWi staff
VIKING Cereals made a loss of £326,000 in the year to July 1998 – the first in its 22-year history.
Almost one-third of that is a debt owed on a shipment of grain which was released by a Spanish agent before payment was secured, explains chairman Oscar Spencer.
The poor harvest also hit the balance sheet. The company, based in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, has 400 members (up 10% on the year) who commit about 350,000t of grain. But low bushel weights reduced yields and therefore levy payments, says Mr Spencer. Besides, grain bought forward at harvest to blend with the poorer quality supplies was sold at a loss.
However, levy payments and returns to members are not affected. This year should see better results, though perhaps not matching the retained profit of 1996/97 which hit £84,000, he adds.