Farmers vote to get €15,000 windfall for Glanbia shares
More than 15,500 farmers are in line for a massive pay-out averaging more than €15,000 after voting in favour of a €170m conversion of valuable shares in Irish food giant Glanbia.
The move will distribute around €238m between members of the Glanbia Co-operative Society through the spin-out of 10 million Plc shares and a €68m members' support fund as the dairy sector faces into a time of great expansion with the abolition of milk quotas.
The 15,500 Co-op shareholders will receive an average of €15,300 each from the spin-out of the Glanbia Plc shares based on a buoyant March share price of €17.03.
However, it is understood the sum could vary from a couple of hundred euro to retired farmers to more than €150,000 for larger shareholders.
Almost 3,000 Society shareholders - many of who supply Glanbia with its 1.6 billion litres of milk each year - turned up to vote in Gowran Park, with 93pc voting in favour of reducing the Society's shareholding in Glanbia Plc to below 38pc.
It will see the Society's controlling interest in the Plc drop from 41.4pc to 36.5pc - which mirrors moves made by Kerry Co-op in recent years. It will retain discretion to reduce it further to 33pc in the future.
Farmers also voted in favour of a share buy-back plan to purchase up to three million existing shares from retiring farmers, to allow new farmers or current milk suppliers without any shareholding to buy in.
There are around 900 farmers in the south-east supplying milk to Glanbia who currently do not enjoy the benefits of being members of the co-op.