Monday, July 15, 2019

Profit rise of 76% sees AF Group deliver £1m to members

July 2, 2019 by  
Filed under News & Business

The AF Group – the farmer-owned agricultural buying cooperative – has returned more than £1m to its members as it achieved a 76% increase in annual profits.

Profits increased to £2.1m alongside an 8% increase in turnover to £274m for the year ending 31 January 2019, said the company. This enabled it to issue rebates of £1.1m to members – itself an increase of almost 80% over the past year.

“Our strong growth this financial year reflects the robust partnerships we’ve built over the last 18 months”, said AF Group chief executive Jon Duffy.

“It’s rewarding that we continue to earn trust and grow partnerships in the agricultural community.  Part of our strategy is to unify all elements of our business – members, staff and suppliers – so that we can move our business forward in a direction that benefits all of our partners.

Mr Duffy said the AF Group had continually advised its members to get “business fit” by ensuring they get their costs under control. This was especially important given uncertainty over Brexit – and the company’s results showed it had practised what it preached.

“Our focus in this area has enabled us to pay £300,000 to members via our first ever discretionary general rebate – which combined with the £700,000 members gained via product rebates – has delivered the largest rebate total in AF’s history of over £1m.”

In addition, price adjustments of over £500,000 meant the AF Group had returned over £1.6m of value back to its members, said Mr Duffy. The group’s intention was to invest more in its business, and support them in increasing their efficiency and profitability.

A new report published last month by the AF Group outlines the attitude and actions needed for successful and fruitful supply chain partnerships for British farmers. Robust relationships benefited producers as well as suppliers, said Mr Duffy.

“What’s needed is a change of perspective,” he said. “By investing in robust supply chain relationships and partnerships, British farmers can still – despite turbulent times – position themselves to grow their businesses.”

British agriculture was in a  changing state, but that was not necessarily a bad thing. Farmers who considered their position and forge new partnerships in the supply chain to strengthen their position would ultimately place themselves better than those who didn’t.

“Agriculture has a bright future,” said Mr Duffy.

“Many are understandably cautious about the near-term uncertainties, particularly in light of Brexit. However, the hard work we have put in, shown by our strong financial performance, has enabled us to build trust and reassure those within our community that we are in a robust position.”

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