Survey shows farming industry Industrial & Provident Societies are here to stay
08 October 2009
A survey of British Industrial & Provident Societies
(I&PSs) from across the farming industry, shows that I&PSs
still believe they provide relevant financial structures for the
industry despite criticism that the day of the mutual has
The research conducted by law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP
questioned I&PSs from across dairy, livestock and arable
farming and shows that I&PSs do anticipate change. In
particular, I&PSs expressed the need for more cooperation in
the supply chain and anticipate likely merger and acquisition
activity amongst I&PSs over the next three years.
I&PSs have been operating in the farming industry for over
100 years. They provide a useful means by which those operating in
a sector can pool resources, spread financial risk, benefit from
economies of scale and compete with larger organisations.
Despite the difficult economic climate, two thirds of the
societies surveyed believe that the number of I&PSs
in the sector will remain the same over the next five years, with
even a small minority (12.5%) expecting that the economic
uncertainty will make it easier for them to operate.
Even though I&PSs are confident that they are still relevant
in today’s farming industry, many see potential for improvement.
The vast majority of companies surveyed (84%) are of the
opinion that more can be done to improve efficiency within the
supply chain. For many of the interviewees (82%), the answer is
cooperation at more than one level within the supply chain, to
capture some of the added value which is created as food is
processed within the supply chain.
Over half of those interviewed expect to engage in merger or
acquisition opportunities either with other I&PSs or businesses
that are not I&PSs. Only 3% saw demutualisation as a
David Wilkinson, corporate partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse
“Even though I&PSs have been around for over 100 years, a
striking majority of interviewees are certain that they are here to
stay - although there may be some consolidation within the sector.
They are stable organisations which do not engage in growth through
the kind of corporate activities often seen with companies. The
survey however shows the need for the sector to focus on
efficiencies within the supply chain. This is something that
we have a lot of experience of and recently advised Openfield on,
when it entered into its groundbreaking arrangements with DHL.”
For further press information, please
Louise Eckersley, PR Manager,
on +44 (0)20 7861 4120.