Profits increased at Britain’s largest arable inputs and marketing firm last year despite a drop in turnover.
Frontier Agriculture, which recently took on marketing responsibilities for north-east grain co-operative Aberdeen Grain, posted pre-tax profits of £34.845million for the year ended June 30, 2014. This was up from £32.639million the year before.
The firm, which operates across 46 sites in the UK including Newmachar and Crimond in the north-east, blamed “weaker commodity values” for a 7.5% drop in turnover in the year to £1.516billion, from £1.640billion previously.
UK turnover fell by £115million to £1.403billion, while sales to the rest of the world were down 7.1% to £113million, from £121million previously.
In accounts filed with Companies House, group chairman David Yiend said: “Frontier’s grain trading, merchanting and grain handling operations performed exceptionally well, refocusing on imports and exports and overcoming enormous logistics and trading challenges brought on by the low grain volume to post strong results.”
He said the group, which employs more than 800 people, had committed £4.7million to new capital expenditure in the year, focused on “customer facing assets in grain storage, seed processing, crop protection distribution, crop trials and smart IT software”.
On the year ahead, Mr Yiend said he expected further growth as acquisitions, the appointment of new agronomists, and capital investment came to fruition.
“The company has proved once again, that in spite of exceptional weather, market and commodity price volatility it remains uniquely structured and resourced to deliver real value through strong collaborative partnerships with its farmers and with food, feed and biofuel industry customers,” added Mr Yiend.
The accounts also revealed that the highest-paid director was paid £654,000 in the year, up 14% from £574,000 the year before.