One of Britain’s biggest arable businesses has hailed a “solid performance” despite experiencing a 45% slump in pre-tax profits.
Agronomy group Masstock Arable, which trades as Agrii, has reported pre-tax profits of £6.977million for the year ended July 31, 2015.
This is down from £12.769million the year before, and £13.115million in the year to July 31, 2013.
Accounts filed with Companies House also reveal that the firm, which provides agronomy advice and sells crop protection products, experienced a 5.75% drop in turnover to £319.095million, from £338.585million previously.
In his strategic report accompanying the accounts, the company’s chief financial officer, Robert Priestley, said the firm had delivered a solid performance against the backdrop of lower farm spending in the period.
“A combination of slower crop development, reflecting reduced seasonal intensity due to lower average temperatures, and the backdrop of weaker output markets informed a cautious attitude to investment spend by farmers during the period,” added Mr Priestley.
He said the firm’s seed and nutrition businesses had experienced excellent progressed and improved sales margins during the year.
“Key focus areas include an improved mix of value added applications that incorporate nutrient mapping, high specification seed advice and varietal selection, precision applications and variable input prescriptions,” said Mr Priestley.
He said the company incurred exceptional costs of £6.226million as a result of termination payments arising from the restructuring of the company’s operations in the year.
The accounts also reveal that the highest-paid director at the firm took home a pay cheque of £312,000. This is up 162% on the year before when they were paid £119,000.
The company, which employed an average of 663 staff in the year, has Scottish operations at Alford, Arbroath, Coldstream, Culbokie, Forfar, Forres, Inverurie, North Berwick, Perth and Turriff.