Shropshire Star

Wynnstay sees opportunities as it looks to second half of year with confidence

Senior management at agricultural supplies group Wynnstay say the company will continue expanding existing operations as it looks forward to the second half of the year with 'a degree of confidence'.

Steve Ellwood

Wynnstay recently revealed pre-tax profits were down for the first half of the financial year with the Llansantffraid-based group saying its performance had been affected by challenging trading conditions in the six months to the end of April.

But there is optimism surrounding the second half of the year and the group's executive chairman Steve Ellwood said: "We are totally committed to supporting UK farmers and growing our business to meet their needs."

Recently revealed group pre-tax profits for the half year were down from £5.5 million to £4.4m. Those figures came as the winter months were some of the wettest on record for the UK with prolonged rains significantly disrupting the sowing season.

"Given the challenging circumstances of the first half of the year, we were pleased with the results and we are looking forward to the second half of the year with a degree of confidence," said Mr Ellwood.

"Our half year falls at the end of April. We would normally have expected spring work to be completed.

"This year it wasn't so we will have a hangover of spring sales coming into the second half which is why we are as confident as we are of delivering annual results. We are behind the historic run rate but that carry over will help us to where we want to be."

He added: "Through the year, our cash reserves have increased substantially. It means we have some real opportunities to grow and invest and we have a strong focus on trying to do that.

"There will be things we are hoping to do in terms of expanding our existing operations.

"We expect there to also be opportunities to consolidate by acquiring similar businesses in slightly different geographies.

"That's something Wynnstay has done through history, if you look at the time line of acquisitions."

The business is set to expand its Shrewsbury base after plans for a new warehouse building were approved.

Shropshire Council gave the go-ahead to outline proposals for the Wynnstay Group’s new warehouse building and storage area at Astley Park in the northwest of Shrewsbury, which the firm says will allow its arable division to grow in line with national demand.

A supporting statement submitted by the company said the new building would provide a larger facility for storage and distribution of goods to cater for the expansion of the business across the country, and to consolidate other smaller storage facilities owned by the firm.

“The new building and alterations proposed will further enhance the successful business of Wynnstay’s arable division at Astley Park and create more employment opportunities for local people,” it said.

“The development will provide numerous economic, environmental, and social benefits, notably enhancing the success of the arable division of Wynnstay at Astley Park to help maintain their continued customer demand for their services and products whilst also creating new employment opportunities and securing Wynnstay’s presence in the area.”

The scheme received no formal objections and Astley Parish Council did not offer any comments during the consultation period.

A report from Shropshire Council’s planning department recommended restricted working hours in order to protect nearby residents from noise generated at the site.

“It is considered that the proposal will support the ongoing success and expansion of the business at an existing site, continue to provide employment opportunities and provide local economic benefits and can therefore be supported in principle in relation to the above identified policies,” they said.

“The proposed development would enable the existing operations at the site to expand within the boundaries of the site, resulting in efficiencies through an improved layout and would provide economic benefits and is therefore considered acceptable in principle.

“The proposed use of the site will not result in any impact on the highway or local ecology, whilst adequate measures are proposed to minimise impact on residential amenity.”

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