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Openfield unveils £1m dividend to farmers

February 26, 2010 by  
Filed under News & Business

Openfield, the grain marketing and arable input co-operative, has unveiled a £1m dividend payout to its farmer members.

The dividend was announced following operating profits of £7.2 million on a turnover of £557m for the company’s first full 11 month trading period to June 2009.

Formed as a result of the merger of Grainfarmers and Centaur Grain just over a year ago, Openfield office locations include Bressingham, Norfolk; Colsterworth and Boston, Lincolnshire.

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

“The £1 million dividend payment is both substantial and significantly earlier than we had planned when formulating the merger,” he explained.

“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.”

Grain marketing and trading – which is the core of the Openfield business – had secured good margins.  Exports were in excess of 1.2m tonnes during the period.

In addition, the seed, fertiliser and agrochemicals side of the business enjoyed an improved financial performance compared to 2008.

At the year end, total membership totalled over 2,700 and the company trades with over 7000 farmers UK-wide. Shareholders’ funds of just under £22m remain as one of the strongest in the sector.

Openfield group managing director Tim Davies said the ultimate, long-term aim was to provide members with a wider range of long-term contract options that ensured 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.

“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.”

This would achieve excellence across the supply chain for the benefit of members and end users 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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