Kerry Group table €21m 'goodwill' milk price offer

Kerry Group CEO Ed Scanlon
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

The Kerry Group has tabled a 1.75c per litre 'goodwill' offer on the 2017 milk price in a bid to resolve the dispute between milk suppliers and the company.

The proposed deal would be worth close to €21m or €6,500 on average for the 3,200 farmers who will deliver a projected 1.2bn litres of milk to the southern processor.

The offer was made by the Kerry Group to the Kerry Co-op board on the basis that it would resolve the milk price issue for 2015, 2016 and this year. The offer is dependent on an arbitration case dating back to 2015 being withdrawn.

"We went to the board with this offer to resolve the disagreement with regard to payments in recent years and move forward on a goodwill basis," said a Kerry Group spokesman. "It would be paid on the basis of the milk supplies for 2017."

He added that the offer would "draw a line in the sand" and allow them to "move forward".

Kerry Co-op board chairman Munday Hayes confirmed the offer had been made and discussions were ongoing.

'Thirteenth payment'

"I am grateful to the new CEO Edmond Scanlon for taking this in hand so soon. We appreciate that," said Mr Hayes.

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The offer is now being discussed by suppliers.

In recent years relations became strained as farmers felt management had rowed back on a pledge to pay the "leading milk price". Farmers had sought a "13th payment" to top-up the milk price.

Thomas Hunter McGowan, who previously held the position of chief executive of InterTrade Ireland, was recently ratified by the Co-op board to take the role of co-op secretary.

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