WIGTON-based Hope’s Auction Company said it is “delighted” to once again see its financial fortunes rise after reporting an after-tax profit.

In releasing its annual accounts to shareholders for the year ending March 31, 2021, the chairman of the board of directors Janet Wright said that the company has reported a profit after tax of £152,108 for the financial year — a significant rise on the previous year’s profits of £25,771.

Janet said: “It is extremely pleasing to be able to report a further increase in profits for this financial year especially against the backdrop of Covid. It is a fantastic result from our team, which has worked through these challenging times to achieve this superb outcome. I am immensely proud of the whole team input here at Hope’s Auction Company. The board of directors continues to work with the management team to identify opportunities to drive the business forward and deliver value to shareholders.”

The accounts show an improved turnover position on the previous year, which, together with continued cost-control measures implemented by the management team has resulted in the operating profit for the business increasing by 94 per cent over the 2020 year with no exceptional items reported.

The balance sheet of the company has also improved over the period with further reductions once again in bank borrowing being made in the year.

The company, says Janet, is currently moving from strength to strength as Covid restrictions begin to ease around the country.

Mart trading is beginning to return to its usual practices with the first on-farm sale of machinery held for some time taking place recently, with bosses declaring it a resounding success.

The Land Agency department also continues to grow with a series of properties coming on to the market across Cumbria and a large amount of professional work being undertaken.

The company AGM will be held at 11am on August 2, 2021, when the board of directors says it will be delighted to once again be able to welcome shareholders and update them on progress within the company.

A sale of ordinary shares in the company will take place immediately after the AGM at noon.

For those interested in purchasing shares, contact company secretary Rozanna Outhwaite on 016973 42202.

In conclusion, Janet said: “It is great to be able to deliver further positive news to our shareholders and again wish to thank our staff, management and directors for their dedication and hard work over the past year.”

The company was established on May 3, 1897, by a group of local Wigton men led by William Hope, who later became managing director and chairman of the company for 25 years – and Hopes is to this day still controlled by a board of directors made up of farmers and business people.

The original auction site occupied the area where the Church Street car park in Wigton is now situated and provided a modern way to market prime cattle.

In the mid-sixties, bigger premises were required and the move to the High Street site occurred as stock numbers increased. Now, more than 120 years since the company origins, Hopes is sited in Syke Road.

The land agency department was set up in February, 2002, and has since specialised in the sale of farms and agricultural land within the highly productive stock farming area surrounding Wigton.

The department is headed by Craig Brough MIRCS FAAV, who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) and Fellow the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (FAAV).

He attended Caldew School in Dalston, before graduating from Harper Adams University College in 2008 with a bachelor of science (with honours) in rural enterprise and land management.