Local marts in profit turnaround

John Swan Ltd managing director Steven Wilson
John Swan Ltd managing director Steven Wilson

The managing director of the St Boswells and Wooler livestock marts says a pre-tax profit of nearly £125,000 last year, up from a £23,000 loss in 2012, is due to more animals through the ring and cost cutting.

John Swan Ltd MD Steven Wilson welcomed the change in fortune during his first year in the top job, saying: “It’s very much been a team effort. We’ve had extra animals coming through which is down to hard work and everybody working well together.”

Two sales staff who left were not replaced, which additionally meant savings on the costs of two cars. The marts gained too from cattle making record prices, and in September and October 2012 cattle were averaging about £1,000, up roughly £200 on the same time the previous year.

But with generally falling livestock numbers, how did the market increase throughput?

The company’s former finance director said: “I think it’s been down to us making sure we get our share. We have had to go and visit people. I have made a lot more face to face contact and attended more farming events.

“We have continued to keep a tight control of administration costs while continuing to maintain strict credit control.

“We have a lot of competition but we provide a transparent and competitive service. We have many more people looking for cattle than farmers have to sell. Animals going through the ring have been making record prices and we have no reason to think that’s going to change in the short term.”