Newtown ‘continues to grow’

Carlisle-based H&H Group, which owns Newtown St Boswells auction mart, has released its results for the year to June 30, showing an operating profit at £940,000.

Further strengthening the balance sheet, net assets have continued to grow and are now at £18.3m, up £582,000, and a final dividend has been recommended of 27p per share, making a total of 39p for the full year.

Chief executive Richard Rankin commented: “Despite the continued economic uncertainty, the group overall has performed well. Every business, with the exception of land agency, has repeated or exceeded prior year’s results.”

He went on: “Within our livestock auctioneering and marketing division, Harrison & Hetherington, we have seen continued growth throughout, trading over £178m of livestock.

“This growth in our core business can be attributed to a number of factors which include rising numbers of livestock and significant one-off sales and events.

“As the UK’s leading livestock company, our aim is to further develop the range of livestock trading opportunities we offer and increase the level of service we deliver.

“We are also now looking at further development and investment into our existing sites.”

Turning to the group’s land agency business, H&H Land and Property, Mr Rankin said there were strong performances by the Kendal and Durham operations, “and Newtown St Boswells continues to grow from its standing start”.

The chief executive highlighted the uncertainly created by Brexit, with many farmers delaying big decisions and investment, coupled with fewer farms coming to market. This had had an effect on the results.

“To take the business forward through what are both interesting and uncertain times for the agricultural industry, leadership in this division has been strengthened, and our competitive position in the north and the Scottish Borders enhanced,” said Mr Rankine.