Farm supplies group Agricultural Central Trading (ACT) has posted increases in full year profitability and revenues after the previous disappointing year.

The company made a pre-tax profit of £824,000 on sales of £91.22 million in the year ended June 30th 2017, compared to £516,000 and £81.05m in the previous 12 months which suffered from delayed fertiliser purchases. The business had reserves of £13.86m at the year end, up from £13.63m the year before

The group is to pay a member trading rebate of £8 per £1,000 of purchases, totalling £514,000. This is up from the £336,000 rebate paid in 2015/16.

ACT chairman John Rowlands notes that the latest year saw challenges for all farming sectors, but the group was well positioned to meet them in reporting an improved financial result. He adds that farmer member numbers and the proportion of turnover with them remained similar the 2016 year.

The improvement comes against a background of better farm returns, particularly for milk producers, in the second half. Company highlights were a 17% increase in invoiced fertiliser sales and a 28% rise in straight feeds turnover to £10.6m.

ACT acquired Wessex Animal Health in July 2016. Mr Rowlands says the business is now integrated, “with Keith Gardiner and his team making a great success of the transfer”. As well as broadening ACT’s offer of animal health products, the business made a good contribution to group results in its first full year.

“The board continues to invest in the company’s future by developing the skills and capabilities of our employees, as well as looking for strategic alliances to make progress towards its strategic objectives – offering the best value products to our shareholder customers, while maintaining and increasing our market share in targeted sectors.

“The people in our business have worked hard and with skill and dedication. Our sales force has met a year of challenges with great skill and application. Our administration teams have continued to extend and develop their use of our new IT system in support of our trading activities,” Mr Rowlands concludes.

ACT director Nigel Snipe retired after 9 years on the board at the 2016 annual general meeting, and has been succeeded by Leicestershire arable farmer Sid Beatty.