Trading picks up for Wynnstay

Agricultural supplies group Wynnstay reports trading has been stronger than expected since June.

 Wynnstay saw strong trading in September and October
Wynnstay saw strong trading in September and October

The group, which is based in Llansantffraid, Powys, has stores across rural Shropshire and Staffordshire.

As an essential supplier to the farming community, the group has continued to maintain its operations across all its activities during the recent 'firebreak' lockdown in Wales and since the introduction of new coronavirus-related restrictions in England, which took effect on November 5

Trading was particularly strong in September and October across both the agriculture and specialist agricultural merchanting divisions.

The board now expects that underlying group pre-tax profit for the year to the end of October will be significantly ahead of current market forecasts.

Anticipated difficulties in arable activities materialised in the second half of the financial year, but trading across other activities has been resilient.

The poor planting conditions in autumn 2019 resulted in a historically low yield from the 2020 UK cereal harvest. Wheat volumes declined by an estimated 40 pe cent on the previous year, limiting volumes available for the group's grain trading operation. Seed sales were also lower, with farmers using last year's unplanted product.

The group has benefited from better-than-expected feed sales in September and October. Sales from the Specialist Agricultural Merchanting depot network also performed well, helped by a stronger red meat sector.

Wynnstay's board believes that the outlook for agriculture and farm commodities in the UK remains positive despite uncertainties around Brexit and that the group is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that are expected to present themselves.

Non-recurring charges in the group's results for the financial year will include rationalisation costs associated with the closure of the Youngs Animal Feeds distribution centre in Huyton, Merseyside and a specialist agricultural merchanting depot in Salisbury, Wiltshire, as well as the closure of the seed plant in Selby, Yorkshire following its lease expiry.

The board has reviewed the group's organisational structure and is implementing a number of changes that will support future growth and investment plans. T

The new organisational structure will not include the position of agricultural director. Andrew Evans step down from the board with effect from the start of December, but he remains a key member of the senior management team and will take up his new role of group operations and feed director and lead the reorganisation at senior executive level.

Wynnstay expects to announce its results for the year towards the end of January and will also provide a further update on trading at that time.

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