THE parent company of rural estate business Buccleuch, owned by one of Scotland’s biggest landowners the Duke of Buccleuch, has reported a fall in profits.

New accounts for The MDS Estates Ltd show the company made an operating profit of £1.7 million for the year to October 31, down from £4.4m.

The company’s interests range from forestry and agriculture to renewable energy and commercial property with operations based mainly within four estates, in central Scotland, the Scottish Borders, and rural Northamptonshire.

READ MORE: Scottish Borders pub revival is boost for village and tourism industry

Executive chairman Benny Higgins said: “We are pleased to report another year of strong business performance across our range of enterprises, with Buccleuch having once again proven to be a resilient business model.

“Our business is diverse, employing 494 colleagues in a range of roles and locations, often in rural areas of the UK. Each of the enterprises performed well against target.”

The accounts show pre-tax profits fell steeply to £6.3m from £37.1m. The firm notes the difference was largely due to a rural property revaluation, which it said was particularly high in the 2021 accounts.

Buccleuch sold pumped storage hydro and wind projects at the former opencast coalmine at Glenmuckloch, Dumfries and Galloway, in late 2022 to a developer it said had the capacity to take them to the next phase of their development.

Net asset value at year-end was £314m compared with £304m a year earlier, the new accounts show. Turnover dipped to £87.1m from £93m.

READ MORE: Short break to the European mainland highlights UK’s inflation crisis

Mr Higgins said there are “emerging opportunities” for Buccleuch in the prevailing economic climate.

He noted: “Over the year, Buccleuch Property invested in both income producing properties and development opportunities for the long-term.

"The team will approach each new investment cautiously, ensuring there remains the appropriate blend of sector-type and property location, across the UK and North America.

"We can see glimmers of hope, however, with emerging opportunities as a result of the fall in values as markets react to higher interest values and inflationary pressures.

“The rural businesses also performed well. Both farming and forestry reporting individual profits, despite uncertainty around agricultural subsidies and food production, and the continuing battle against the long-term effects of Storm Arwen.”