Glanbia 40pc share-price drop costs the co-op close to €900m

Glanbia managing director Siobhan Talbot
Glanbia managing director Siobhan Talbot
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

ALMOST €900m has been wiped off the value of the stake in Glanbia plc owned by farmers through the Glanbia Co-op in little more than six months.

A collapse in the Kilkenny headquartered agri-foods group has accelerated since a profit warning last month.

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Shares are down 40pc since the start of the January - but had actually performed strongly in the early part of the year. Shares peaked at €19.38/share on March 14. By last Friday however the price had halved from that level, and even a slight recovery on Monday to a €10.05/share close leaves investors nursing massive losses.

The biggest shareholder, the co-op, has a 31.5pc stake in Glanbia plc. It was valued at €1.8bn at the March peak and at just over €900m by this morning.

The company's share price is trading near its lowest level in almost six years.

Stock market filings show a number of Glanbia's senior management recently purchased shares in the company.

Glanbia CEO Siobhan Talbot bought 5,000 shares at a price of €11.15 per share, while chairman Martin Keane acquired 8,000 shares at €11.518 each.

Last month, in interim results released a week earlier than scheduled, the Kilkenny-headquartered group said it expected to report adjusted earnings per share for 2019 in the range of 88-92 cents, a decline of between 3-7pc on last year. The updated outlook is being driven by geopolitical and trade tensions, which impacted its global performance nutrition business outside of the United States, the group said.

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The global performance nutrition division accounts for approximately 56pc of the group's earnings before interest and tax.

In addition, Glanbia was affected by an acceleration in consumers in northern Europe shopping online rather than through its traditional distributors. In the US, the group is not growing as quickly as previous years, according to analysts.

The US market is set to remain challenging for Glanbia in the near-term, analysts said, particularly as it looks to raise prices.

Glanbia does not yet have full visibility on how this will impact its performance there. At the time of the interim results last month, Ms Talbot described the group's performance as "disappointing".

Glanbia yesterday said it refuses to comment on any share acquisitions or disposals.

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