ANM profits despite pressure

FIERCE COMPETITION and rising operating costs resulted in increased pressure on margins for the ANM Group's food firms but the Aberdeenshire-based company still made a trading profit of over a £1 million in 2005.

Throughput grew by over £10 million to nearly £170 million while turnover increased just over £7 million to nearly £86 million.

ANM Group chief executive Brian Pack said cost escalation due to the rapid rise in energy charges, together with the high cost of compliance, put the businesses under pressure. "The competitive nature of the market sectors means it is difficult for us to recoup increases in costs through our selling prices," he said.

While Scotch Premier Meat showed a small increase in profit, Yorkshire Premier Meat saw £359,00 knocked off its 2004 bottom line. A "difficult climate" also had a negative effect on Highland Country Foods and Charcuterie Continental in their first full year of trading as part of the Group.

The Group's parent society, which includes Aberdeen and Northern Marts and Thainstone Specialist Auctions, increased turnover by £91,000 and profits up £168,000 to £508,000.

More good news came from the turnaround of catering firm Highland Cuisine and livestock agents H and I Ltd. Both returned to the black in 2005.

Group chairman, John McIntosh, said: "The year we are now in is unlikely to see much relaxation of the pressure on our business, particularly as competition pressures will only ease slowly and energy costs look set to stay high, at least short term. It is important that we continually review our businesses whilst looking for new opportunities."

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