Connacht Gold co-op to create 30 new jobs
SLIGO-based co-op Connacht Gold is to create 30 jobs in its consumer foods and agri-business divisions, the company said yesterday.
The co-op, which employs around 560 people, said it would take on the staff throughout the rest of this year.
The news follows a strong 2010 for the co-op, which saw pre-tax profit nearly treble to €5m from €1.8m a year ago on the back of turnover that topped €300m compared to €264m in 2009.
The business returned cash flow of just under €6.7m for the year.
Like most businesses in the dairy sector, Connacht Gold reaped the benefits of higher milk prices, lifting turnover from the dairy ingredients sector by 44pc to €60m. The average milk price paid to suppliers was 30.9c per litre.
"The growth in milk prices in 2010 and early 2011 has eased somewhat," the co-op said.
"Milk supply is responding strongly to higher prices and how markets evolve is very dependent on demand holding up."
Agri-business turnover declined slightly, to €88m, reflecting lower farm input prices, but in consumer foods, sales increased to €43m in what Connacht called "an extremely competitive market".
Its butter brands added 23pc in volume. The upward trend in production has continued to the point that Connacht Gold is now apparently the number two fresh milk processor on this island.
Chief executive Aaron Forde was pleased with the co-op's performance, especially when contrasted against the backdrop of a struggling economy.
"On all key measurables, the company performed well. The increased turnover reflects volume growth across all business areas. Sales of consumer foods expanded significantly," he said.
"Retail sales in agri-business stores grew in spite of a very challenging environment.
"The livestock marts business had a record year while improved returns on international dairy markets were passed back to dairy farmers resulting in a much-needed boost to incomes," he said.