Farmers' co-op posts strong set of results

SOUTH Molton-based co-operative Mole Valley Farmers has reported strong financial results for the year ending September 30, 2009, thanks to investment in farming and the rural sector. Operating on a co-operative business model with

SOUTH Molton-based co-operative Mole Valley Farmers has reported strong financial results for the year ending September 30, 2009, thanks to investment in farming and the rural sector.

Operating on a co-operative business model with just under 6,000 Farmer Shareholders, the business has increased turnover by 5.8 per cent to �257.6m, an all time record in the face of challenging economic conditions and a significant fall in commodity prices.

As a result of a 6.2 per cent increase in operating profit to �3.6million, Farmer Shareholders will be rewarded with a �450,000 rebate, bringing the total to over �1m distributed back to shareholders since the launch of the scheme three years ago. The balance sheet of the business remains very strong with shareholders' funds increasing by 10 per cent to �27million.

Farmer Shareholding has increased by over 600 new members to a record level, alongside a substantial increase in Country members, with customers benefiting from the company's procurement commitment to keep margins as low as possible across the wide range of products and services in the agricultural and retail businesses.

Overall, sales across Mole Valley Farmers and its retail subsidiary SCATS Countrystores have performed extremely well, despite the adverse financial conditions. The company has continued to invest in its feed mills, minerals plant and retail sites, with significant investment in Cornwall at MVF's St Columb branch, the website, product research and development as well as joint initiatives with Taste of the West and Harper Adams University College.

David Burke, Chairman of Mole Valley Farmers said: "The emphasis throughout the year has been on important cornerstones that underpin the whole business: a strong value offer, good customer service, continuity of supply and controlling overheads. This has enabled the company to pass back additional purchasing benefits to our members as well as continue to invest in the business and its people."

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The combined agri feed business, Mole Valley Feed Solutions, has contributed over �98 million (nearly 40 per cent) of total turnover, with volume increasing to just under 340,000 tonnes of manufactured feed, a record, bucking the national and regional decline in compound feed usage.

Andrew Jackson, Chief Executive of Mole Valley Farmers, said: "We anticipate trading conditions for 2010 to be every bit as challenging as 2009, as customer confidence remains finely balanced. Choice, quality, good service at competitive prices has never been more important and we greatly appreciate the

support from our members and customers who are the very focus of the business."

In 2010 Mole Valley Farmers will celebrate its 50th year since the foundation in 1960 by a small group of pioneering farmers in the South Molton area who decided to collaborate together. The aim was to bring cost benefits to its members through the principle of a farmer's co-operative. Five decades later the same ethos remains as true today as then. Mole Valley Farmers is farmer owned through its Farmer Shareholders, with a Board of Directors all of whom are active farmers. For more information visit www.molevalleyfarmers.com

A full set of financial results can be obtained from Andrew Chapple of Mole Valley Farmers by writing to Mole Valley Farmers Ltd, Station Road, South Molton, Devon, EX36 3BH.

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