€238m payout for farmers after Glanbia vote
More than 15,500 farmers are in line for a massive payout after voting in favour of a €170m spin-out of valuable shares in Irish food giant Glanbia.
The move will see around €238m made available to members of the Glanbia Co-operative Society through the spin-out of 10 million Plc shares and a €68m members’ support fund as the dairy sector faces into a time of great expansion with the abolition of milk quotas.
The 15,500 Co-op shareholders will receive an average of more than €15,000 each from the spin-out of the Glanbia Plc shares based on a buoyant March share price of €17.03.
Almost 3,000 Society shareholders - many of whom supply Glanbia with it’s 1.6bn litres of milk each year - turned up to vote in Gowran Park, with 93pc voting in favour of reducing the Society’s shareholding in Glanbia Plc to below 38pc.
The move will see the Society’s controlling interest in the Plc drop from 41.4pc to 36.5pc - which mirrors moves made by Kerry Co-op in recent years. It will also retain the discretion to reduce it further to 33pc in the future.
Farmers also voted in favour of a Share Buy Back Plan to purchase up to three million existing shares from retiring farmers to allow new farmers or current milk suppliers without any shareholding to buy in.
In exchange, in addition to cutting the Co-op’s interest in the Plc, the number of farmer members on the board of Glanbia Plc will be cut from 14 to seven by 2020, delivering a slimmed down boardroom for the multi-million euro conglomerate.
It comes at a time when Glanbia - which accounts for 30pc of the national milk pool - has invested heavily in the sector with the opening of hi-tech €185m milk processing plant Belview on the shores of Waterford Harbour.