East Anglia: Farmers’ co-operative Anglia Farmers increases turnover by 11%

Kit Papworth, George Bell and Clarke Willis.

Kit Papworth, George Bell and Clarke Willis. - Credit: Archant

Farmer-owned purchasing group Anglia Farmers saw its turnover rise by 11% last year, despite difficult trading conditions.

Kit Papworth, chairman, at the opening of Anglia Farmers extended offices. Picture: Denise Bradley

Kit Papworth, chairman, at the opening of Anglia Farmers extended offices. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Norwich-based AF Group increased turnover from £208million to £231m during the financial year to January 31.

The group comprises Anglia Farmers Limited (AF) and three wholly-owned subsidiaries – AF Affinity Limited, AF Biomass Limited and AF Finance Limited.

AF posted a surplus of just over £1.1m returning over £1m to members and transferring £90,000 to the balance sheet.

The positive results come at the end of a successful financial year which saw AF launch a new membership exclusively for producers supplying Waitrose and extend its headquarters near Norwich.

Membership of AF grew to 2,826 shareholder members, and collectively, they now farm more than a million hectares of land across the UK.

Chairman Kit Papworth said: “These figures reflect another excellent year for AF. It is great to see that despite on-going difficult trading conditions, the Group has retained its focus and continued to grow.

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“Our aim continues to be not just the biggest but the best agricultural purchasing group in the UK and our growing volume of business across our departments, and continued emphasis on excellent member service, certainly sets us in good stead to achieve that goal.”

In its second year of trading, AF Affinity Limited, which offers an extensive range of products to business purchasers, private individuals and through employee incentive schemes, recorded turnover of just more than £2.56m.

Turnover of £2.4m was recorded by AF Biomass Limited, which markets straw for the straw-burning power stations and for livestock farmers.

AF Finance Limited, the peer-to-peer member lending scheme which has lent more than £1m to members since its launch in April 2012 and returned interest of 5.05% to depositors.

Within AF, product turnover continues to grow and is up 10.6% year on year. C

Group chief executive Clarke Willis said: “Whilst recognising that size is important for a purchasing group, AF is continuing to develop excellence in purchasing, servicing members and delivering benefits through streamlined administration and the use of technology.”

The group’s increasing turnover also means that the AF invoice team verified and processed more than 400,000 invoices last year.

The latest forecast for the AF Group for the 2013/14 year is £245m.