Arrabawn on track to increase milk output
Published 27/05/2015 | 02:30
Arrabawn will process substantially more milk in 2015 than was the case last year despite the well-publicised defection of suppliers to both Dairygold and Glanbia during the spring.
Speaking at the society's AGM last Friday, co-op chief executive Conor Ryan told shareholders that milk throughput would by far exceed the 270m litres that the business processed in the pre-quota era.
Breaking the silence on the 'winners and losers' of the recent battle for milk supplies for the first time, Arrabawn CEO, Conor Ryan told shareholders that the Nenagh-based processor had gained as much milk as it had lost to its neighbours.
He said Arrabawn has lost 15 suppliers to Glanbia and gained 26.
Meanwhile the co-op lost 20 suppliers to Dairygold and gained 21.
"We are still receiving enquiries from suppliers who want to join Arrabawn and overall we will increase our supply for the year," Mr Ryan told the meeting.
He also stressed that "no special deals" had been done with new suppliers, adding that every farmer was "paid the same price".
There was criticism from shareholders that poor communication with suppliers had contributed to suppliers leaving the society and there were also issues with credit arrangements for farmers.
However, Mr Ryan defended the co-op's tight rein on credit. Meanwhile, he said plans were being put in place to improve interaction and communication with suppliers.
On milk price, Mr Ryan said that market volatility continued to effect returns, but the commitment of the society to pay the best possible competitive price remained unchanged.
Referring to the rejection by Arrabawn of unsolicited merger proposals from Dairygold, co-op chairman, Sean Monahan, told the meeting that the processor was in "a very strong financial position."
"We will not be intimidated into accepting an offer which is not in the best interests of all our members," Mr Monahan said.
"It has always been our policy to be open to discussions with other processors about any arrangement that might be of benefit to our members, and this will remain our policy going forward," he added.
Arrabawn declared the highest ever operating profit at €4.44m and retained profits of €3.02m compared to €1.4m the previous year.