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Openfield back in the black with £2.4m profit

The company posted a profit before tax of £2.4 million, claiming its acquisition of Countrywide Farmers’ grain marketing activities boosted earnings

Joel   Durkin

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Joel   Durkin
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Openfield's grain volumes grew 19 per cent as it returned to profit
Openfield's grain volumes grew 19 per cent as it returned to profit

Openfield has returned to profit following significant losses last year.

 

The grain and inputs co-operative’s results, covering the 12 months to June 30, 2015, showed a £2.4m profit before tax following a £4.2m loss in 2014. Company bosses pointed to a wet year affecting 2012 harvest quality and a smaller national crop in 2013.

 

Openfield said in comparison 2014 saw above average yields, claiming its business performance was also supported by the acquisition of Countrywide Farmers’ grain marketing activities.

 

Openfield chairman and Worcestershire farmer Richard Beldam said: "The headline numbers illustrate the scale of the turnaround.

 

"Clearly, the much improved harvest was helpful, but the executive management, led by chief executive James Dallas, are to be congratulated in achieving not only this result, but on refocusing activity for the long-term success of the business on behalf of members."

 

During the period, group revenue grew 0.6 per cent to £749m and grain volumes grew 19 per cent to 4.3m tonnes. Operating profit was £3.2m compared to a £3m loss in 2014. Borrowings grew about £2m to £7.75m.

 

The results came despite Openfield losing the marketing partnerships for two central storage bodies. They also came amid a year prices remained depressed for UK arable farmers, weighing on farm incomes for much of the sector.

 

“It is disappointing other farmer-owned businesses chose not to share our vision for returning value to members, however, we are financially better for it and the reaction from consumers has been entirely positive," said Mr Beldam.

 

"We remain committed to our co-operative principles of building long-term alliances with consumers for the benefit of UK farmers and are willing to welcome those farmers who share this philosophy with us."


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