Well-known farm machinery importer and distributor Ruston’s Engineering Co Ltd (RECO) will cease trading early next year following the loss of its two main franchises. Company chairman Richard Ruston says Sulky’s decision to open its own branch in the UK and Agco’s move to supply Fella grassland products through Massey Ferguson dealers meant it would have to reappraise its business model. “We have been looking at how our previously profitable business could continue to deliver a first class product range and back up service to our dealers and their customers in the light of reduced sales as a result of these franchise changes,” says Mr Ruston. “We reached the conclusion that in the longer term the business could no longer give our customers the levels of service they are entitled to expect from RECO. The decision has therefore been taken to manage an orderly wind down of the business by paying all creditors, selling the assets and ultimately distributing the net proceeds to the various shareholders.” Mr Ruston, who has spent most of his working life with the company, says it is very sad for all concerned, but that it is not a question of financial difficulties. “We are not going bust and it will be a gradual wind-down process.” He anticipates the company will cease trading early in the new year. “But in the meantime, we continue to trade by selling both from stock and by buying in additional machinery on a day to day basis to meet customer requirements. For those looking for a keen deal, there are great opportunities as we continue to hold machine stocks with a cost value of around £3 million.” “Our priorities over the next few months are to assist our 30 loyal and talented staff in finding suitable employment elsewhere. Some of them have already joined the ‘new’ Sulky, and I would like to think we will find jobs for the remainder by the time we shut up shop.” Stocks Ag, another independently run member of the Rustons group, is unaffected by the decision to close RECO.