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Changes to the Board at Countrywide Farmers plc

In April this year, the Board of Countrywide Farmers plc announced that it was exploring the potential sale of its Retail business. The Company announced that it had agreed terms with Mole Valley Farmers Ltd on 23rd October 2017, with an expected completion before the end of January 2018. In addition, the Company has sold its 80% shareholding in MSF Welland Valley Feeds Ltd and is in the process of winding down and transferring its Turf & Amenity business to an alternative provider.

As a consequence of these decisions, the Board has reviewed the future structure of the Company and agreed that the role and responsibilities of the Chief Executive Officer would change substantially. In light of this, the Board has accepted the resignation of John Hardman who will leave the Company in January 2018.

The Board is pleased to announce that Julie Wirth, currently Chief Financial Officer will step up to the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer – working with John Hardman during a handover period and taking full responsibility from the beginning of January 2018.

The Board would like to thank John for his service to the Company over the last 32 years and wish him every success for the future.

The Directors of Countrywide Farmers plc accept full responsibility for this statement Find more information about Countrywide at www.countrywidefarmers.co.uk.

Countrywide Farmers plc

John Hardman (CEO)                                                       Tel: 01386 429511

Julie Wirth (CFO)

Walbrook PR Ltd

Tel: 020 7933 8780  or  Mob: 07980 541 893

Paul McManus (Media Relations)

 [email protected]

                                                     


BETA Dog Food – Helps Keep Dogs Healthy Inside and Out

Countrywide offers a wide range of dog food to help keep dogs healthy, whatever their age, breed or activity levels. One food that we’ve been proud to bring you for a number of years is BETA.

Why is PURINA® so proud of BETA®? Well read on to find a bit more about the product and understand why it offers a tailored range of nutrition, which could be the ideal food for your dog both to meet his or her nutritional needs and to help optimise their health.

BETA is all about delivering tailored nutrition to your dog using selected natural ingredients – allowing them to be a proper dog and enjoy their food whilst offering a number of benefits for them too.

Purina put selected natural ingredients into every pack. These include:

  • carrots,
  • parsley,
  • spinach,
  • chicory
  • and wholegrains

These are included in every pack of food and they make sure there are no added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

BETA contains a natural prebiotic (chicory) which helps support digestive health by promoting a beneficial balance of ‘good bugs and bad bugs’ in the gut. It also contains ‘dual kibble’ – with a variety of differently shaped kibbles. These look fun, but they are there to do much more than that. It takes longer for dogs to pick up the pentagons and chew them than the squares, helping to slow down eating and assist digestion. Dogs are less able to ‘bolt’ down their food quickly, which can often lead to regurgitation, so it is ideal for food-orientated dogs who enjoy their food a bit too much sometimes. Every bag of BETA contains all of these benefits, but there are also products for specific needs, which contain added benefits. Nutrition is tailored to meet the needs of you and your dog, by providing different life stage diets (puppy, adult and senior) and addressing particular needs your dog may have such as food specially formulated for a sensitive skin or digestion, a light version for those prone to putting on weight, and a working version for dogs that are particularly active.

PUPPY contains DHA, which is essential for growing puppies to help the development of their brain and vision, and essential vitamins and minerals to help bone growth – particularly important if you have a large breed puppy as they have lots of growing to do.

ADULT contains all of the essential vitamins and minerals needed to help support healthy teeth and bones, zinc and omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for a healthy skin and shiny coat and great levels of protein to help support strong muscles.

BETA also has a MAINTENANCE version too with extra antioxidants to help support natural defences. BETA products tailor for SMALL, MEDIUM and LARGE dogs.

SENIOR contains omega 3 fatty acids, to support healthy joints as they become a little older and creakier, and antioxidants to help support their healthy immune system.

SENSITIVE contains easily digestible ingredients including high quality salmon protein to help support good digestion, and vitamins, fatty acids and zinc – important skin nutrients to help reduce possible discomfort. In addition, help support sensitive skin. It also contains beet pulp which helps to improve stool quality so what comes out the back end should be nicely formed.

LIGHT is lower in fat (20% lower than BETA Adult) for healthy weight management, and contains an ideal balance of protein and fat to support good body condition during weight management.

WORKING is higher in protein and fat to help replenish energy stores during active periods, and can help if your dog is underweight and needs to put on a little bit of weight. Essential amino acids and proteins help support muscles during exercise and aids repair afterwards.

So whatever the needs of your dog, BETA should be able to more than fit the bill to provide them with complete nutrition to help keep them healthy and active and support them throughout life. Give it a go today.

From our Purina Vet Ellie

Purina Beta Dog Food At Countrywide

®Reg. Trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.


Countrywide agrees terms to sell its Retail business to Mole Valley Farmers Ltd.

Following the announcement on the 2nd October that Countrywide had entered into exclusive discussions, Countrywide confirms that it has now agreed terms to sell its Retail business to Mole Valley Farmers Ltd.

Under the terms of the sale, Mole Valley will acquire the Retail business which will include 48 of the 53 currently trading stores, support teams and IT operating systems for a value that is dependent upon stock levels in the business at time of completion. Countrywide will retain all freehold properties, with Mole Valley entering into lease agreements as a tenant. The sale is subject to review by the Competition and Markets Authority, with completion expected to take place before the end of January 2018.

The Retail business comprises 53 trading stores and a fully operational website supported by field, distribution and head office teams. The sale of the Retail business will affect around 750 employees whom are expected to transfer to Mole Valley following consultation under the “TUPE” process (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006). The stores that will not be transferring and therefore close are Amesbury, Glastonbury, Honiton, Towcester and Wenvoe.

Commenting on the deal, Countrywide Farmers Chief Executive John Hardman said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Mole Valley Farmers. This represents an excellent opportunity to secure the future of our Retail business with an established sector leading company. I would like to thank all of our staff who work within the Retail business and have remained committed through a significant period of change and uncertainty. We are very grateful for their contribution and wish them all the very best for the future.”

Andrew Jackson, Chief Executive of Mole Valley Farmers, said: “We very much look forward to welcoming and integrating the Countrywide Retail team into the company. My perception is that the staff have remained loyal and focussed on maintaining business performance despite uncertainty about their futures, which is a commendable measure of their stamina and commitment to the business and customers alike.”

Following a period of major change, Countrywide will focus, moving forward, on the growth and development of its Rural Energy - LPG business to create value for key stakeholders. Rural Energy - LPG currently supplies bulk LPG and bottled gas to both commercial and rural domestic customers.

The Directors of Countrywide Farmers plc accept full responsibility for this statement Find more information about Countrywide at www.countrywidefarmers.co.uk.

Countrywide Farmers plc

John Hardman (CEO)                                                       Tel: 01386 429511

Julie Wirth (CFO)

Walbrook PR Ltd

Tel: 020 7933 8780  or  Mob: 07980 541 893

Paul McManus (Media Relations)

[email protected]

                                                     


Countrywide Farmers Plc - Strategic Update

Countrywide Farmers plc (“Countrywide” or “the Company”), one of the UK’s leading suppliers of products, services and advice to the rural community, today provides a further strategic update.

Following the announcement of its intention to explore the potential sale of the Retail business in April, Countrywide reports encouraging progress towards a sale and confirms that it has entered into exclusive discussions with Mole Valley Farmers Ltd. This process and negotiation of detailed terms is expected to take a number of weeks to conclude, with the Company targeting completion by the end of the year. This represents an excellent opportunity to secure the future of the retail business with an established sector leading company for our customers and employees.

Countrywide also confirms today that it has completed the sale of its 80% shareholding in MSF Welland Valley Feeds Ltd to the existing Management team for a consideration of £1m. MSF Welland Valley Feeds Ltd comprises a single retail store based in Market Harborough which operates as an entirely standalone business. Net proceeds from the sale will be utilised to reduce bank facilities.

Countrywide also further confirms that it is in the process of winding down and transferring its Turf and Amenity business to an alternative provider, enabling the Turf and Amenity team to continue to serve customers under new ownership.

We are encouraged to report that trading performance in the LPG business continues in line with expectations.

In light of the developments confirmed today, the Countrywide Board has taken the decision to suspend trading in its shares with immediate effect.

 The Directors of Countrywide Farmers plc accept full responsibility for this statement

Find more information about Countrywide at www.countrywidefarmers.co.uk

Countrywide Farmers plc

John Hardman (CEO)                                                      Tel: 01386 429511

Julie Wirth (CFO)   

Walbrook PR Ltd

Tel: 020 7933 8780  or  Mob: 07980 541 893

Paul McManus (Media Relations)

countrywi[email protected]


Speedy-Mash Fibre from SPILLERS®

Countrywide Farmers are pleased to bring you New SPEEDY-MASH Fibre from SPILLERS®.

Keep your horse happy and healthy this winter with SPILLERS® SPEEDY-MASH Fibre. It's a new super-fast soaking sugar beet blend with an irresistible apple aroma and it takes less than a minute to prepare.

SPILLERS® SPEEDY-MASH Fibre is high in fibre, low in starch and molasses free so it's suitable for every horse or pony including good doers and those prone to laminitis. It soaks in 60 seconds to form an appetising apple-scented mash, which also makes it perfect for senior horses with poor teeth; especially those who have difficulty chewing long fibre.

With a full range of vitamins and minerals, prebiotic FOS and probiotic live yeast for digestive health, SPILLERS® SPEEDY-MASH Fibre also contains quality protein to help maintain topline and muscle tone. This is especially important for balancing the diet of horses and ponies on calorie-restricted rations.

SPILLERS® SPEEDY-MASH Fibre has undergone extensive palatability trials and it seems that horses and ponies can't get enough of it. One tester reported: "Satisfying, quick, suits needs and my horse likes it. Holly didn’t stop for air it was so good. She needs a bib! You put a little in and once soaked you get a lot out."

Others said: "A delicious, non-heating fibre feed that appealed to our very fussy thoroughbred, and kept his weight on and brain sane!" and "Mango is a fussy eater and will often throw his food around rather than eat it! He loved the SPILLERS® trial product and happily ate it without pony nuts mixed in." The owner of an elderly horse said: "It's easy to soak, does the job and is very palatable even for the elderly horse that is known to have less of an appetite."

Clare Barfoot RNutr, the research and development manager at SPILLERS® said: "There is something very comforting about feeding soaked feeds which is why bran mashes and sugar beet have been so popular in years gone by, but these traditional practices take time and don't provide a balanced ration. In our modern world where time is precious SPILLERS® SPEEDY-MASH Fibre delivers a balanced super-fast soaking fibre blend you won't have to keep your horse waiting long for!"

New SPILLERS® SPEEDY-MASH Fibre is available from your local Countrywide Store and you can take advantage of a launch promotion of £1 off each bag while stocks last on flashed stocks only. For more details contact the SPILLERS® Care-Line on + 44 (0)1908 226626 or visit www.spillers-feeds.com.


Countrywide Turf & Amenity

Countrywide confirms that following a further review of profitability, it is in the process of winding down and transferring its Turf and Amenity business to an alternative provider, enabling the Turf and Amenity team to continue to serve customers under new ownership.


Kadence at Countrywide

Kadence At Countrywide

The Kadence range of equestrian products has been designed exclusively for Countrywide. It is affordable, of the highest quality and perfectly designed for horse and rider.

With rugs designed to ensure a great fit, weatherproof finish and easy to use clips and fastenings, jodhpurs and breeches are made with a durable fabrics that are breathable, stretchy, soft to feel and easy to wash as well as a whole range of grooming and stable accessories; Kadence has all your equestrian needs covered.

Sara Blackshaw, Equestrian Senior Category Manager, discusses the exclusive range.

Where did the name Kadence come from?

SB: The term cadence is Latin and translates to means ‘balanced rhythmic flow’. It is used by riding instructors to describe the desired movement of the horse. Cadence is acquired when the rider of the horse is able to obtain the desired poise and rhythm. Kadence has been specifically designed with the ease and comfort of the horse and rider in mind.

Why was the Kadence range developed?

SB: As a keen equestrian I find nothing more frustrating than trying to find products that suit my needs, at a price I can afford, which are also of good quality for everyday use. So, I have developed the range by taking the best elements of products for both horse and rider, made sure that quality and price are not compromised and built all this into the exclusive designs for Countrywide.

So what can customers find in the range?

SB: The full range includes stable equipment, training equipment, headcollars, rugs and whips. Quite a comprehensive offer! Many of the products come in the standard colours of navy and black but also we try to offer seasonal colours with a fashion element to them.

What should customers look out for?

SB: We do a ‘Black with Gold Trim’ every day range consisting of a durable 200gm quilted stable rug , 150gm Turnout Combo Rug , Quilted Thermo Dry Rug and both regular and Combo Fleece Rug. These come with matching head collars, travel boots and tail guard making a comprehensive sell price range for the competition rider.

New Seasonal Autumn ranges for both horse and rider are due in to stores in the next few weeks with a new range of colours for our Arctic Combo in a lovely fresh Teal. Our Versatile Medium Turnout Rug with separate neck cover in a classic Racing Green with Gold trim and matching Headcollar. Also from popular demand we have bought back our Mini Turnout Rug with all the features of our horse rugs but sized for the smaller pony.

Riders can look forward to Silicone Seated Breeches with easy to wear elastic cuff at the bottom. Also our extra stretch riding legging comes in to stores with a warm brushed inner to make sure we keep you warm and cosy for the colder weather.

The Kadence range is available online & instore now.

Shop Online


Let’s go above and beyond

Purina Beyond Dog Food At Countrywide

We're pleased to welcome Purina's new dog food Beyond to our dog food range, giving our customers even more choices when selecting a natural, healthier diet for their pets.

'Natural' – a growing trend in the pet food sector, as well as human foods, and something Purina are becoming more and more aware of. But what does it mean, how can it benefit your dog and what is Purina's Beyond dog food – a food that is still a bit of a hidden gem in the natural food sector? Well it is time to find out.

Many of the more natural dog foods available now are preferred by owners because they want to feel intuitively good about the ingredients going into the product and ensure that what they are feeding their dog is full of wholesome ingredients and avoiding adding artificial ingredients. Many owners are well aware of the link between diet and health, and the phrase 'you are what you eat' rings true in our pets as well as our humans. As both knowledge and concerns about pet foods grow, 'natural' is becoming more and more popular.

So what does 'natural' mean? The term refers to ingredients which have maintained their natural composition and to which nothing has been added…and Beyond is proud to be a leader in the natural pet food sector, bursting full of high quality and wholesome natural ingredients, crafted carefully by Purina experts into a delicious, 100% complete and balanced food.

The range contains three products. 'Simply 9' comes in two flavours: Lamb and Whole Barley and Chicken and Whole Barley…and Simply 9 means just that - there are, quite simply, 9 ingredients in the recipe – so it contains everything that your dog needs, and nothing that they don't. We also have our Superfood Blend, Salmon and Sweet Potato – and we all know the power of nutrient-dense superfoods so this one may well be something you are looking for.

Whilst the varieties differ, all of the products within the range have many things in common. Purina use high quality chicken, lamb or salmon as the number one ingredient to provide excellent taste and protein digestibility. This is combined with wholesome grains including barley and oat groats (whole oats) to provide slow release energy and a great source of fibre for gut health, and they avoid using wheat in the product too. The Superfood blend also adds sweet potato, known to be a source of antioxidants, combined with the benefits of salmon which brings the omega fatty acids and vitamins. Vegetables including carrot, pea and spinach are also added to the kibble.

Not only are the ingredients themselves important, but their sourcing, quality and safety are a key priority for Purina as well. They are a company that truly cares about their impact on the environment and communities, selecting ingredients of only the highest quality and minimising the carbon footprint wherever possible. They have a Responsible Sourcing Guideline for Fish and Seafood in place, and very high standard animal welfare policies as well as offering the reassurance of following over 50 pieces of legislation during the production of Beyond and use sophisticated auditing, inspections and tracking systems throughout production.

So, Beyond truly does go 'above and Beyond' both in the selection of its ingredients and the way it is combined – using the expertise that comes from a company containing over 500 vets, nutritionists and scientists – to create an incredible, premium quality product which promotes your dog's health and will make you feel confident that you are doing the very best you can for them.

The new Beyond range is now available in our stores across the UK and online, with home delivery or free click-and-collect from stores.

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Result of the Annual General Meeting

At the Annual General Meeting held on 26 May 2017, the first four ordinary resolutions proposed were passed on a show of hands.

The fifth resolution related to matters to be considered by the members, and did not require a vote to be made.

Resolution 6, concerning the authority to allot shares or grant rights to subscribe for, or convert any security into shares, and resolution 7, concerning the disapplication of pre-emption rights, were not passed.

Details of all resolutions are detailed in the Notice to the General Meeting in the Annual Report.


Results for Year Ending 30 November 2016 and Strategic Update

Countrywide Farmers plc ("Countrywide" or "the Company"), one of the UK's leading suppliers of products, services and advice to the rural community, today publishes full year results and makes a further announcement as it continues to develop its business strategy.

The Company releases final results for the year ending 30 November 2016. The Company reports a loss after tax from continuing operations for the period of £(9.9)m (2015: £(8.2)m) following disappointing trading performance and continued investment through what has been a period of considerable change and transition, including the full rollout of the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system across the business.

Further to the confirmation of 14 retail store closures in February, which formed an important part of re-positioning the Retail business for profitable growth in the future, the Board continues to review the strategic direction and profitability of the Company as a whole. It is clear to the Board that the retail environment remains challenging and that to compete effectively for the long-term will require further rationalisation of the cost base along with potential further investment. With the operational challenges outlined above, three business units all requiring investment, together with a legacy pension scheme to fund, the Board has to prioritise the opportunities that will deliver the greatest returns.

Countrywide therefore announces today that it has appointed advisors PwC to explore a potential sale of the Retail business. The Retail business consists of 53 Country Stores supported by a field sales team and back office teams enabled by the newly implemented Multichannel/ERP system. It is not anticipated that the Rural Energy - LPG or Turf and Amenity businesses will be impacted by this decision.

Trading performance in the new financial year continues in line with expectations. Rural Energy has seen a strong start with volumes ahead of prior year, as it continues to pursue its growth strategy. Similarly, Turf and Amenity has also made an encouraging start to the year. Retail continues to see improvement in like-for-like performance and on-shelf availability after facing serious issues through the latter part of last year. Stabilisation of the new Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system and associated working practices have seen encouraging progress over recent months. In addition, renewed focus on working capital management has delivered significantly lower levels of receivables and improved quality combined with lower levels of inventory.

Countrywide also announces that it has recently concluded positive discussions with its bank and has agreed funding facilities that support the requirements of the entire Company for the foreseeable future.

The Company's annual report is published on both the Corporate and Asset Match websites and will be posted to shareholders by 27 April 2017 followed by an AGM on Friday 26 May 2017.

The Directors of Countrywide Farmers plc accept full responsibility for this statement

Find more information about Countrywide at www.countrywidefarmers.co.uk

Countrywide Farmers plc

John Hardman (CEO)

Tel: 01386 429511

Julie Wirth (CFO)

PwC Corporate Finance

Tel: 029 2080 2093

Marc Davies [email protected]

Walbrook PR Ltd

Tel: 020 7933 8780 or Mob: 07980 541 893

Paul McManus (Media Relations) [email protected]