National Milk Records (NMR), the listed provider of milk testing and dairy herd management services, has reported significant increases in profitability and turnover from its latest full year of trading.

The company has recorded an EBITDA of £2.4 million on sales of £21.4m in the year ended June 30th 2018, compared to £1.9m and £19.5m in the previous 12 month period. Net debt fell £1.8m to £2.1m at the year-end. The 2017/18 year saw £0.8m invested in IT systems and laboratory facilities.

Last year NMR, a former Milk Marketing Board business, withdrew from the MMB Pension Fund after making payments of nearly £15m to discharge its future scheme liabilities. It said the ongoing liabilities were constraining its ability to invest in the business. Since the move, NMR has acted to simplify its company structure.

The latest period saw substantial growth in demand for the company’s Johne’s disease screening service, with 2,055 herds now regularly screened, compared to 1,600 herds in 2017. NMR’s Reproduction Services division also saw a significant increase in revenues.

The business has won an AHDB tender to support work on genomic testing, and is working with major milk processing companies to explore ways of delivering greater transparency in the management of anti-microbial resistance (AMR).

Looking ahead, NMR anticipates a positive outlook for the UK dairy sector and its business. It notes that milk buyers are continuing to invest in UK processing capacity, while dairy farmers are becoming more professional and data-driven. At the same time there is increasing consumer demand for food safety and traceability, while it believes Brexit will be “mildly positive” for its prospects.

“NMR continues to grow as a business, and to support this it is investing in its people and its infrastructure,” states managing director Andy Warne.

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“Our efforts are now firmly set on maintaining, and improving on, the success we have experienced over the last 12 months. Our primary focus remains on the core business, a strategy which we believe will serve us well into the future. However, the company is also ambitious and is assessing new growth strategies and opportunities.”