Fram Farmers Group sees record turnover – but profits fall by more than a quarter
- Credit: Archant
A Suffolk-based farmers’ co-operative saw a record turnover in the year to June 2019 – but overall profits plummeted.
Despite the sales upturn, farmer-owned Fram Farmers, based at Framlingham, acknowledged it had been another tough year for farmers.
Speaking at the group's annual general meeting on November 21, outgoing chairman Rodney Baker-Bates reported that the group had achieved a turnover of £212m - its highest ever. This compared to £195m for 2017/18, making an 8.9% rise.
Fram Farmers, including Fram Farmers Insurance Services, made a pre-tax operating surplus of £139,229 - which was down compared to £201,214 in 2017/2018.
Commercial subsidiary Framtrade Ltd - which supplies oil and gas products to over 4000 members of the public and small businesses - saw its performance fall by 27% compared to the previous year. Its pre-tax operating profit of £336,901 compared to £464,309 2017/18.
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This resulted in the group achieving a consolidated operating profit before tax of £476,130 - compared to £665,523 2017/18 - a fall of 28%.
This year's surplus will go towards the cooperative's future development by allowing it to invest in IT systems and processes to optimise efficiency and reduce overhead costs, while attracting, training, developing and retaining staff, improving existing services and developing new initiatives, it said.
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The group's balance sheet remains "very strong", it said, with a positive cash flow from its operations. Consolidated net current assets reached £3.405m (£2.968m 2017/18), while capital and reserves closed at £4.392m (£4m 2017/18)), providing it with a "robust financial position" to negotiate within the supply chain.
Andrew Read was confirmed as the co-op's new chairman, and he is joined by fellow director Wendy Houston, who takes on his previous role as vice-chairman.
The co-op, which was formed in 1960, provides purchasing, grain marketing and administrative services for more than 1400 farming businesses throughout the UK to enable them to obtain best value from the supply chain.