Dairygold executive pay totals €2.7m 'to compete with Apple and PepsiCo'
Management at one of the country's biggest dairy co-ops has refused to disclose individuals' pay packages for fear that they will be poached by global giants such as Apple, Pfizer and PepsiCo.
Dairygold revealed for the first time in its annual report yesterday that its nine top executives shared €2.7m in remuneration packages last year, or an average of €300,000 each.
The Mitchelstown-headquartered co-op is owned by more than 3,000 dairy farmers based in Munster with a turnover of less than €800m per year.
But the business's top executives insisted that they were competing for the same staff with the likes of Apple, which generates close to €35bn in annual profits. "All these companies are 25 minutes down the road from us, and revealing individual members' pay would risk poaching," claimed Dairygold chairman, James Lynch.
The 12 directors that sit on the processor's board received €423,000 between them last year. This works out at on average more than €35,000 for each director.
Wages for executives increased by 1pc on 2014, while payroll costs for the total Dairygold workforce of 1,149 increased by 3pc last year to nearly €60,000 on average.
Management said that wage costs had increased due to longer working hours for staff dealing with greater volumes of milk, which increased by 19pc on 2014 following the removal of the limits imposed by the EU milk quota regime.
The news comes in the same year that the incomes of dairy farmers are predicted to halve to close to €30,000, due to a 40pc drop in milk price at farm level.