ANM Group – Scotland’s most active and influential farming, food and finance co-operative – is reporting a trading profit of £498,000, record shareholder investment of £6.5m and benefits to members of £477,00 for the year ending December 31, 2018.
Pete Watson, ANM Group board chairman, said: “ANM plays a major role in Scotland’s economy and we are pleased to have recorded a trading surplus in 2018. Our balance sheet remains strong, and shareholder capital reached £6.5m having increased by £500,000 from 2017, which demonstrates the confidence our members have in the group and the future direction of the business. The board is extremely grateful for this show of support.”
ANM operates in a complex, diverse and challenging trading environment. Against this backdrop of unprecedented economic and business uncertainty, the group recorded a very satisfactory increase in trading volumes and turnover despite facing significant increases in a number of operational costs, like many other businesses.
Furthermore, our defined benefit pension scheme has continued to face significant challenges and demanded considerable investment to deal with this legacy issue. Whilst good progress has been made, a recent High Court ruling affecting all UK defined benefit pension schemes has led to the group reflecting an additional provision, required under the Guaranteed Minimum Pension Policy, through the profit and loss account.
The balance sheet remains strong with a high level of reserves and net assets amounting to nearly £27.5m at the end of 2018 (excluding the pension scheme deficit). The group looks to the future positively backed by its financial strength, strong team and member and customer support.
The group continued to work hard to promote its diverse range of membership benefits and services supporting the sector through the uncertainties of 2018. The total value of these members’ benefits amounted to £477,000 in the year and included dividends of £143,000; stocking agreement interest savings of £131,000; commission cap savings of £156,000; and members loan scheme’s enhanced interest rates over market rates of £47,000. The group’s stock-on agreement and new entrants scheme supported 240 livestock farmers in the year with £6.9m worth of cattle and sheep financed by the group.
Grant Rogerson, chief executive of ANM Group, said: “We are pleased with the progress achieved in 2018 across the group in all areas of the business. As Scotland’s leading farming, food and finance co-operative, we are a people-centred business and our stakeholders are at the heart of everything we do. I am proud of the executive team, board members and each and every one of our staff at ANM who have all worked hard this year to provide a high level of service as well as deliver value to our members and customers.
“Our strength in diversity is a major asset to the group. We are investing in our people, facilities and continue to grow our market share to ensure we remain fit for the future.”
In the Marts division, Brexit uncertainty and turbulent weather conditions have proved a challenge, and the consequences continue to be felt by everyone in the rural economy. Sheep sales have held up well with cattle numbers dropping only slightly as a result of a cautious marketplace. The dry summer weather affected trade with buyers adopting a more cautious approach due to increased bedding and silage costs. This in turn impacted on the livestock throughput figures for 2018 but should not take away from the tremendous effort delivered by the livestock team.
Thainstone Specialist Auctions had another strong year as a result of their hard work and saw an increase in throughput at the Thainstone Saturday sale, specialist sales as well as their valuations services.
Aberdeen & Northern (Estates) Ltd reported a very good result. The team had a record-breaking year selling approximately £24m in rural property value and conducted valuations exceeding £72m in property value.
Thainstone Events, including the award-winning Porterhouse Steakhouse & Coffee Bar, recorded an increase in customers dining at Porterhouse and hosted a successful series of events from country music festivals to Christmas party nights. This resulted in a profit for the division.
The group continued to invest considerable time and effort in its property portfolio and further strengthen its asset base. ANM Group is delighted construction work started on the Thainstone Business Park expansion in Q4 of 2018 and is progressing well.
The group remains committed to supporting the farming sector with initiatives such as the Farm Profit Programme: Making Livestock Pay, in partnership with the Irish Farmers Journal and the Scottish Government. The programme has completed year two and continues to work with the six focus farms in the group’s trading area to improve technical performance, efficiency and profitability.
The group’s AGM will be held on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 from 2:00pm with a light lunch available to attendees from 1:00pm in the Thainstone Exchange, Thainstone Centre, Inverurie. All members are welcome.