DIFFICULT TIMES: Middleton-in-Teesdale Auction Mart, part of the H&H Group TM pic
DIFFICULT TIMES: Middleton-in-Teesdale Auction Mart, part of the H&H Group TM pic

H&H Group PLC, which operates livestock marts at Middleton-in-Teesdale and Kirkby Stephen has reported a large drop in profits for the year to June 30.

Officials say the annual results reflect adverse economic and weather conditions.

The results show an overall operating profit of £31,000, down £909,000 on last year’s performance.

Net assets have remained strong at £17.2million, however, no final dividend has been recommended this year as the board looks to ensure strong financial governance is in place across the group.

With its heritage in auctioneering, farming and the rural economy, the H&H Group also has businesses encompassing rural property services, insurance and printing.

With its head office and main operating centre based at Borderway, Carlisle, the company employs more than 300 members of staff across the north of England and Scotland.

Chief executive Richard Rankin said: “Despite the loss, which we know is as a direct result of the whole of the UK being hit by continued economic uncertainty as well as climatic conditions, the group overall has performed solidly.

“Within our livestock auctioneering and marketing division, we have experienced two sides of the performance coin; good in so far as our people, the service and our market share which are all moving in the right direction, less so, when considering the financial results in comparison to recent years.

“We suffered from both a fall in volumes, particularly sheep over the 2018 autumn season, and more significantly in lower prices.

“Both factors were beyond our control and both are mirrored throughout the overall livestock trading industry and our neighbouring marts.”

He added: “Overall, the results reflect the current turmoil in our industry, with uncertainty affecting both sheep and cattle.

“Fortunately, we are a sizeable organisation, with a diverse range of businesses, a broad skill set, and tremendous teams – and as such, I believe we are in strong position to consolidate our portfolio of services and continue to grow our business.”

Looking forward, Mr Rankin said: “There is a nervousness around Brexit and the unknown effects of its outcome, however, we the H&H Group and all of our businesses are here to support our diverse range of customers and the wider rural economy through these uncertain times.

“Looking to the future, our aim is to further strengthen our main services and to continue to expand our coverage.”

He added: “We stand firmly on strong foundations and will, as we have always done, continue to offer the very best service, identify and grasp new opportunities and ensure that we are sustainable, fit for the future and for the needs of the next generation.”