Investment in mill infrastructure paying off for NWF

Richard Whiting

Cheshire-based agriculture company NWF Group says it is expecting its full-year trading results to be ahead the prior year and in line with expectations.

In particular, the second-half (to May 31) performance in its feeds division improved, although the year as a whole was down on the previous 12 months because of the later than planned opening of its northern feed mill and margin pressure from increasing commodity costs.

In food, the business performed well and ahead of the year before, efficiently meeting demand for storage and distribution from customers.

Service levels were maintained at 99.7% and the division is actively seeking additional business to fully utilise space in 2018.

The fuels division performed well, and in advance of the previous year, both in developing business at existing depots and expanding the activity of new depots established in the last two years.

Net debt was in line with the board’s expectations and reflects the development investment undertaken during the year.

The feeds mill development programme has now been completed and is expected to deliver its planned benefits, it said, although the delayed opening resulted in some additional exceptional costs being incurred.

NWF chief executive Richard Whiting said: “NWF has delivered another solid trading performance. Investment in mill infrastructure in the Feeds division and strong performances from Food and Fuels have continued the development of the group and demonstrate its ability to successfully navigate volatile economic conditions.”

As reported by TheBusinessDesk in January, half-year profits at NWF were hit by a weak first quarter performance due to a warm summer and a rapid rise in commodity prices.

In the period to November 30, 2016, the Nantwich-headquartered company’s pre-tax profits fell 23.1% to £2m year-on-year and operating profit dipped 21.4% to £2.2m.

Revenue grew by 13.9% across its feed, food and fuels divisions to £255.9m, reflecting the contributions of its acquired companies, higher activity levels and increased commodity prices in feeds and fuels.