One of the main pedigree livestock auctioneers in the UK has hailed a successful year despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
H&H Group, which includes livestock auction company Harrison & Hetherington, says its latest accounts for the year to June 31 show a 260% increase in pre-tax profits to £1.223 million, from £330,000 the year before.
The group also posted a 9% increase in turnover to £14.694m, from £13.526m previously, while the value of its asset base increased by £1.6m to £21m.
H&H Group chief executive, Richard Rankin, said the livestock auctioneering division had experienced an increase in both volumes and prices in the year.
The company handled 833,000 livestock in the year – up 19,000 on the previous year’s figure of 814,000.
“The farmstock business has improved its market share and the uplift in values has helped to build confidence in the agri-industry, especially in the beef and sheep sectors,” added Mr Rankin.
“The success in online marketing and selling has also continued, as both the team and customers embrace this new way of trading.
“Digital trading is now making significant contributions to this business, and we expect this to continue and evolve going forward.”
He said several prestigious pedigree and commercial sales had been conducted by the company, which operates nine auction marts across the north of England and Scottish Borders, demonstrating the company’s “reputation as one of the UK’s leading traders of livestock and genetics”.
Mr Rankin said the group’s insurance division, H&H Insurance Brokers, had demonstrated a strong bounce back in performance and it had returned to profitability, while the estates division, H&H Land and Estates, finished the year ahead of budget despite difficult trading conditions.
“The impact of Covid-19 has been most felt with H&H Reeds, our print, signage, graphic design, website developers and now digital marketing business,” added Mr Rankin.
“However, from August of this financial year activity has picked up back to pre-Covid levels. We are now seeing positive signs and confidence returning across the various markets we service.”
Looking to the future, Mr Rankin said the group was looking to invest and develop, both organically and through future acquisitions where they add value.
“Our aim going forward is to work with our customers to enhance the services and increase the range of products and services they require, to ensure that their businesses are fit for the future,” added Mr Rankin.