The NFU has bought the agricultural energy consultancy FEC Energy to improve its offer to members as well as adding to its income streams. Both organisations are located at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, and have collaborated over the past two decades.
The business advises farmers on the buying and selling of energy and the generation of heat and electricity, including renewable sources; how to use energy more efficiently; and on reducing the compliance burden of energy regulation. FEC is also one of the UK’s biggest accreditors of biomass installations.
FEC Energy was originally established at Stoneleigh, then the National Agricultural Centre at the Royal Showground, as the Farm Electric Centre in 1967. It was part of the Electricity Council. When the electricity sector was privatised in 1990, it came under the ownership of Cheshire-based EA technologies and changed its name to the Farm Energy Centre to reflect a wider industry role. A management buyout in 2000 saw the creation of the FEC Services subsidiary, with the change to the current FEC Energy brand occurring in 2016.
“This acquisition combines the unique strengths of our two businesses,” notes NFU director general Terry Jones. “FEC Energy will unite its wealth of engineering and energy market expertise with the NFU’s powerful membership, regional and local network and marketing know-how. The purchase will also create a new substantial income stream which can be used to support the organisation’s core work, benefitting our membership as a whole.
“Culturally the two organisations are a great fit; both value knowledge and expertise, understand the needs of farming businesses and are committed to the continued success of the sector.
Managing director of FEC Energy Chris Plackett adds: “Being part of the NFU will massively increase our commercial exposure with members. Utilising the organisation’s significant buying power will enable us to strike even better deals with suppliers as well as set up new and mutual beneficial trading relationships between the energy and agricultural sectors.”