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UK: Lincolnshire potato grower AH Worth and Company in financial trouble

A Lincolnshire potato grower which supplies to the likes of M&S has reported a drop in turnover that made it slip into the red during its latest financial year. AH Worth and Company, which is based near Holbeach, has posted a turnover of £93.7m for the 12 months to 31 May 2019, down from £98.5m.

It also made a pre-tax loss of £1.3m for the year after making a profit of £3.6m in the prior period. quoted a statement signed off by the board said: "The 2018 UK potato harvest was estimated at 4.90 million tonnes, compared to 6.04 million tonnes in 2017, a decrease of 23 per cent. This was in turn an increase of 16 per cent on the 2016 harvest, highlighting the variability in the sector.”

"The current year was driven by adverse weather conditions during key periods, namely the 'Beast from the East' which contributed to some late planting coupled with low rainfall and high temperatures in the following summer. Planted area in 2018 was also down to 118,000 ha, compared to 2017 at 122,000 ha, meaning that the variability in potato stocks was attributable to both yield and area. This resulted in some challenging contract situations and also high freebuy prices for non-contract purchases."

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