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Tipp Co-op sales rise ¤21m

Sales at Tipperary Co-op increased by €21m (17pc) last year on the back of higher milk volumes and better market returns.

Shareholders at the co-op's recent AGM were told by management that profit before tax doubled to €784,000 over the same period.

"[Last year] was a good year for dairy farmers as the combination of a good milk price and better weather facilitated increased milk production at farm level," said the co-op's chairman, Matthew Quinlan.

"The efficient processing of higher milk volumes and better returns helped to improve the co-op's sales performance."

The profit performance was achieved despite substantially higher energy costs, higher raw material costs and continued volatility in dairy product prices, according to general manager Ted O'Connor.

"Despite our product specialisation and contractual commitments, Tipperary co-op managed to respond to market movements and capitalise on the higher returns available at different stages during 2010. Butter and milk-powder volumes increased by 3,500t, while cheese output fell by 1,000t to 15,000t," he said.

Shareholders were also told that net bank debt was down to €12.7m and shareholders' funds now stand at €25m. Cash inflow from operating activities amounted to €3.2m.

Tipperary Co-op is also a prominent supplier of specialised dairy ingredients to the infant formula sector. Last year, the co-op invested €2.1m in capital expenditure in its operations with the aim of maintaining cost efficient processing and improving product quality. The co-op has recently announced a switch over to the natural gas network which is hoped to reduce energy costs.

Tipperary Co-op's retail and trading businesses saw turnover falling by €400,000 last year, with the co-op's Super Valu store in Tipperary town experiencing a decrease in consumer spending.

Speaking about the co-op's preparations for the post milk quota era, Mr O'Connor said that surveys of their own milk supplier base indicated that milk production would increase substantially post 2015.

"As a processor we are well positioned to manage that increased output. More significantly, we aim to achieve that with relatively modest investment," Mr O'Connor said.

Indo Farming