North-east farmers’ co-operative ANM Group has hailed the success of its livestock auctioneering division throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group, which runs auction marts at Thainstone near Inverurie and Quoybrae in Caithness, said efforts to ensure livestock sales were able to continue throughout the pandemic had paid off.
Speaking at the group’s virtual annual general meeting, ANM Group chief executive Grant Rogerson said the company had acted swiftly to implement new ways of working to ensure sales could go ahead safely during the Covid-19 crisis.
This included investment in a new digital hub to allow customers to access all live sales, both to watch and bid for lots, from any location and on any device.
Referring to the co-op’s most recent set of accounts, for the year to December 31, 2020, Mr Rogerson said despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the group demonstrated trading success during the year.
“Throughput in the year increased by £4.2 million to £121m, and trading profits are up to £525,000,” said Mr Rogerson.
“And average commission savings for members have resulted in £206,000 being saved at the point of sale.”
John Angus, head of livestock at ANM’s livestock auctioneering division Aberdeen and Northern Marts, said the company experienced a “significant upturn” in both livestock volumes and values throughout the year.
He said: “Trading was difficult after Covid-19 struck and the uncertainty of the primestock sector affected trade, however with the power of the transparent live auction system prices improved significantly throughout the year and into 2021.”
He said the average value for all categories of cattle increased by 6% in the year, while the average value for all classes of sheep was up 19%.
Attributing much of this success to the introduction of the group’s new digital sales platform, Mr Angus said: “Online technology is here to stay.”
ANM Group accountant, Nicola Brice, said the overall trading costs of the auction side of the business had decreased in the year due to efforts to improve cost efficiencies.