Arable co-operative beats forecast

GRAIN marketing and arable input co-operative Openfield has revealed an operating profit of �7.2million on a turnover of �557m for the 11 month to June 2009.

GRAIN marketing and arable input co-operative Openfield has revealed an operating profit of �7.2million on a turnover of �557m for the 11 month to June 2009.

And the business, formed as a result of the merger of Grainfarmers and Centaur Grain just over a year ago, is returning more than �1m to its members in the form of dividends.

Chairman, Richard Beldam said that the business had come together well and performed beyond budget expectations.

“The �1m dividend payment is both substantial and significantly earlier than we had planned when formulating the merger,” he said.

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“Furthermore, in view of the good results, we have taken the opportunity to write off all of the expenses of bringing the two businesses together.

“While market conditions have undoubtedly helped, sound execution due to the determination of the management team and their staff has allowed us to forge ahead,” he added.

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Grain marketing and trading, which is the core of the Openfield business, had secured good margins and exports sales for more than 1.2m tonnes during the period.

The seed, fertiliser and agrochemicals side of the business also achieved an improved financial performance compared with 2008, he added.

At the year end, total membership totalled more than 2,700 while the company trades with a total of more than 7,000 farmers across the UK.

Shareholders' funds of just under �22m remain as one of the strongest in the sector.

Openfield's group managing director, Tim Davies, said that the ultimate, long-term aim of the business was to provide members with outstanding customer service and a wider range of long-term contract options that ensures increased commitment to Openfield.“End-users tell us that, as part of their corporate responsibility requirements, they are keen to support and sustain supplier relationships. So, provided UK agriculture meets their needs, then they will back Britain's farmers,” he said.

“By eliminating waste, delivering on time every time and surpassing expectations, our aim is to ensure we build on our preferred partner status with these buyers, achieving excellence across the supply chain for the benefit of member and user alike.”

Openfield has a number of high profile supply contacts with leading brands such as Warburtons, Weetabix, Coors and BQP/Waitrose.

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