Farm Ireland

Monday 11 December 2017

Milk bonus row to hit AGM of the Kerry co-op

Dairy Farm
Dairy Farm
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Kerry co-op suppliers, who still own 14pc of the food giant, are likely to take management to task over a disputed milk bonus at the co-op's AGM tomorrow.

The farmers argue that Kerry have not honoured a promise to pay a "leading" milk price when compared with their neighbours, Carbery co-op in west Cork.

Kerry Group maintains that Carbery is excluded from the price comparison because of its small milk pools and the level of cross-subsidisation taking place.

Kerry Group has led the charge of Irish food companies defying the global downturn in dairy commodities with increased profits.

The food ingredient company, that now employs over 23,000 globally, held its AGM in Tralee yesterday - which is separate to the co-op AGM due tomorrow.

It reported that it is on track to deliver 6-10pc growth in earnings per share, and had paid down €100m in borrowings during the first three months of 2016.

Sales volumes were up by 2.9pc globally, with the Asia-Pacific region powering ahead with an 8.7pc increase in sales. Last year, the company's trading profits increased by 10pc to €700m from sales of over €6bn.

Meanwhile, Carbery reported a healthy set of results for 2015 yesterday, with earnings up 33pc to €35m from a turnover of €350m.

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Carbery's debt was also reduced by 20pc to €27.8m.

Much of the increased profitability stemmed from Carbery's ingredients division, since profits were actually down in its dairy wing. The company employs 600 and is jointly owned by Bandon, Barryroe, Drinagh and Lisavaird co-ops.

Irish Independent