Record share investment for ANM Group
Share capital investment in Thainstone-based ANM Group has reached a record level of £5 million, the co-operative announced today.
ANM Group, one of the largest and most progressive producer-owned farming, food and finance businesses in the UK has welcomed almost 50 new members since its Annual General Meeting in April, with investment from new and existing members growing by £400,000 over the same period.
And the group’s executive directors – John Gregor and Grant Rogerson – say the membership benefits become increasingly apparent when set against a backdrop of challenging trading conditions in the agricultural industry, as well as the wider economic impact in the North-East due to the oil and gas industry downturn.
Mr Gregor said: “The group provides an element of stability in testing times. One of our central functions is to represent and support members and their interests at stakeholder level with the Scottish Government: ensuring the industry is fit for the future.
“This year has seen significant challenges for many of our customers and members.
“We’ve seen a particularly poor summer; a difficult harvest and, looking ahead, there are considerable concerns around the new Basic Payment Scheme with well-publicised figures showing the North-East will be one of the worst-affected areas in Scotland.”
Mr Gregor says the record investment is recognition of ANM Group’s value to its members, and strengthens its position to build on benefits such as members’ loan schemes, livestock finance, commission cap savings and share dividends.
He adds: “The co-operative is particularly proud to offer a new entrants’ scheme, which has attracted 18 participants. It was set up in 2013 to provide financial and advisory support to those starting-out in the agricultural industry and, to date, has loaned £400,000.”
Mr Rogerson said the strength and diversity of the group, including land and property sales, events, catering and auctions, means the co-operative is consistently popular with both members and customers: playing a major role in the local economy.
He added the wide range of industrial and commercial plant and machinery available at the group’s Saturday sales, held eight times a year, will prove increasingly attractive for individuals and businesses across a number of sectors, including oil and gas, amid a growing focus on cost efficiency.
Plant and machinery sales represent a significant annual throughput of £14.5million for the group.
Mr Rogerson said: “These live and online auctions consistently attract around 3,000 lots, and are among the largest plant and machinery sales of their kind in the country with bidders travelling from across the UK.
“Given the focus on cost efficiency, and the likelihood of increasing demand for second hand equipment, these sales will be particularly appealing because of the reassurance of the competitive price discovery mechanism, unique to auctions.”
And so far this year the group’s estates team, covering an area from Angus up to Caithness and Sutherland, has sold 21 rural properties, with 17 under offer; compared with 25 sales and no properties under offer for the same period in 2014.
“This shows that, despite all the challenges and concern faced across different sectors, and with the backing of our experienced team, there remains appetite and movement in the rural property market,” said Mr Rogerson.