John Swan & Sons hit by wet weather and eurozone

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LIVESTOCK auctioneer John Swan & Sons slumped to a half-year loss after being hit by the wet weather and a downturn in demand for lamb caused by the debt crisis in southern Europe.

The Aim-quoted firm, which runs markets in Newtown St Boswells in the Borders and Wooler in Northumberland, posted a pre-tax loss of £135,000 for the six months to 31 October, compared with a slim profit of £1,440 for the same period in the preceeding year.

Chairman Alastair Ritchie said: “Trading in the first half of the year has been much more difficult than previously, due mainly to a sharp reduction in sheep volumes arising from economic uncertainties, particularly in the market for lamb in southern Europe.”

Ritchie pointed out that, although the auctioneering unit had posted a loss of just £23,000, the bottom-line loss was “accentuated” by the costs of being quoted on the stock market.