Farm Ireland

Thursday 23 November 2017

Dairygold allays supplier concerns on debt structures

ICMSA president John Comer

Farming Independent Team

Dairygold has moved to calm supplier fears regarding a message included on its December milk statements which suggested that details of business transactions with the co-op could be forwarded to other financial institutions.

The message on milk statements read: "We [Dairygold] may transfer our interest in your debt to Bank of Ireland which may involve providing it with personal data including your name, contact details and transaction history. We and Bank of Ireland may share such data with our respective financial partners, insurers and financial guarantee providers who may use the data to administer your debt and/or any financial guarantee."

The Farming Independent received a number of calls regarding the Dairygold communication, which had not previously been included on milk statements. Farmer fears centred on issues of data protection and the possibility of Dairygold transferring members' co-op debt to other financial institutions.

ICMSA president John Comer said that the message included in the milk statement had created a level of confusion amongst Dairygold suppliers, and it was important that the co-op clarified the position for their suppliers.

However, Dairygold management insisted that the message related to a new debt factoring agreement that the society had negotiated with Bank of Ireland, and would not affect farmers dealings with the co-op.

"Our members and customers should have no concerns with respect to this initiative. Debt factoring is a well-established practice for large companies. It is essentially a banking arrangement for the business based on our trading activity with members and customers," explained Michael Harte, Dairygold chief financial officer.

"It will make no difference to their trading relationship with Dairygold. They will continue to deal directly with the relevant personnel in Dairygold on all account and credit issues, and Bank of Ireland will not make direct contact with any customer."

He said that the new arrangement will not result in any change to Dairygold's relationships with its customers.

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"Dairygold has fully complied with its data protection obligations and has advised its credit customers of the arrangement," a co-op statement added.

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