Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: W&R Barnett Ltd.

Grain trader's growing portfolio

By John Simpson

W&R Barnett is Northern Ireland's largest international grain trader.

In addition the company trades in derivatives and oils, owns and operates dockside facilities, manufactures animal feeds and also specialises in horse breeding. The size of the trading operations in the large group of companies has been increased dramatically with the acquisition of another trading group, United Molasses Group, formerly owned by Tate and Lyle.

The United Molasses Group of companies was purchased in a deal completed in December 2010. In the trading year to the end of July 2011, the acquired businesses added £181m to the turnover of the W&R Barnett Group. On a like-for-like trading basis, W&R Barnett turnover increased by 22%. When the acquired businesses are added, turnover increased by 151%.

The Barnett group of companies forms a critical link in the supply chain to support the farming community through the sale of animal feedstuffs whether for extensive or intensive production. The addition of the Molasses Group will extend the reach of the enlarged businesses in a much wider marketplace.

The accounts report the impact of unrealised gains or losses on the holdings of investments, often in the form of property re-valuation.

In 2009-10 a surplus of £13m was added to reserves but in the next four months a deficit of just over £2m was deducted. Most recently, at July 2011, £6m was assessed as a further surplus. Employment in the group has averaged 312 people in 2010-11.

*The company changed its accounting year in two stages: after the year ending in March 2010, results were registered for four months to the end of July 2010, followed by full year results to end July 2011. This table compares the last two full years.