The AF Group’s latest annual accounts show its shareholder members were given a payment of over £600k for the 2017/18 financial year – an increase of 15% on 2016/17.
The Annual Report and Summary Accounts, delivered to the Group’s members this week, also show turnover increasing 9% to £255m and a surplus after tax of £616k (up from £230k in 2016/17). This will enable the business to further invest in improving administrative and IT operations, and staff training.
AF Group Chief Executive Jon Duffy said: “It has been a very good year for the Society and indeed the Group. The performance is the result of the hard work of the AF staff, the support of our membership, and the renewed strategic partnerships with key suppliers.
“This is an encouraging start to our five-year strategy, launched in September 2017, which sets ambitious targets on membership, the balance sheet, and financial returns to members. However, with the whole supply industry consolidating around us, we cannot stand still.
“The agricultural world is changing rapidly and some of the changes that we will see post-Brexit could be seismic. I said at the beginning of the year that it was important for any business looking at risk management to get its costs under control. This is exactly what we have done at AF following feedback from members, staff, and suppliers.
“After a thorough review, we have streamlined the services and products we offer in order to concentrate on the core of the business. Staffing was restructured with permanent staff numbers reduced from 134 to 120 (FTE). Along with other changes identified, such as sponsorships, marketing, and third-party support, this has resulted in annualised savings of £500k.
“The Group is stronger for doing so and better able to leverage our influence so we can continue to offer exceptional products, with the right quality, delivered with the best service, at the right price.
“We’re moving into a position where we can be confident of withstanding market volatility and agile enough to avoid issues as they arise – as well as provide all our members with real value for money.
“I know the changes and the outlook for the business has been well received, with members informing me they are filled with hope for the future of AF and proud to be a part of what we’re looking to achieve.”