Carr’s Group starts the year with solid feedblock sales

Agricultural and engineering company Carr’s Group has reported a growth in feed volume sales. 

In its trading update for the 18 weeks to 7 January 2017, the company announced that compound feed volume sales were up on the same period last year. Fuel volumes also saw a year-on-year growth while machinery sales “have also shown signs of recovery” during the quarter.

Its UK feedblock sales were up on last year in volume terms, but its engineering division reported a “slower than expected start”, which was attributed to a “significant contract delay in the UK manufacturing business” that impacted productivity.

In the US, feedblock sales volumes were in line with the prior year as the impact of falling cattle prices for producers began to take hold. The business expects both volumes and margins to remain under pressure during the rest of the financial year.  

The group also reported that detailed planning for the construction of the new low moisture feedblock production facility at Shelbyville, Tennessee, was progressing well, with completion of the facility expected by autumn 2017.

Its net debt, as at 3 December 2016, was £16.9m compared to net cash of £8.1m as at 3 September 2016.

Tim Davies, chief executive, said: “We have delivered a strong performance in our UK agricultural operations during the period, supported by improved confidence in the outlook for our core farming customers. However, this has been partially offset by market pressures in the US, relating to falling cattle prices, and the delay of a significant contract in our engineering business, which is now expected to commence towards the end of this financial year.

“The performance during the period once again demonstrates the value of the diversity of our business when operating in challenging market conditions. We are pleased to report that, overall, we are trading in line with the board’s expectations.”

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