DESPITE a complex trading environment, Mole Valley Farmers has reported another positive and progressive trading year with revenues growing by 9% to £464m for the year ending 30th September 2017.

Both core sectors of the business ­- agriculture and rural retailing - contributed above plan, with combined feed volumes growing by 9%. Retail store revenues increased to £211m; a like-for-like increase of 4.3%, with several store locations reporting double digit growth.

Chief executive Andrew Jackson said: “Our year-on-year growth can be attributed to a number of considerations. This includes the continued support of our farming shareholders - who in their own right continue to face uncertainty - together with the dedicated work and efforts of staff across the company. The positive contribution from previous investments has also played a part, together with our overall pricing and service provision, which consistently features across our wider commercial measures, with both retail transactions and feed volumes continuing to grow.”

Operating profit - including joint ventures in the year - totalled £2.4m. This is a 33% increase compared to £1.8m in the previous year. However, total net profit decreased to £1.4m, primarily due to losses on the disposal of fixed assets and a self-imposed capping of gross margins across the feed business, combined with some one-off costs.

Mr Jackson adds: “The anticipated movement in exchange rates and the depreciation of the sterling after the country voted to leave the European Union also had a greater impact on our feed ingredient position than was initially understood. This resulted in higher, un-budgeted costs being incurred and also contributed to compressing expected returns.”

The balance sheet remains strong with net assets increasing £1.0m in the year. Investments in fixed assets exceeded £4.4m in the year. This included the acquisition of Gwinear Farmers in Cornwall, and TCS Country Supplies in Gloucestershire, with further investment in intangible assets totalling £1.8m.