Tuesday 20 March 2018

No sour notes as co-ops benefit from higher milk prices

Peter Flanagan

THE good year for the agri-business sector continued yesterday as two more co-ops reported strong annual results on the back of resurgent world dairy markets.

Cork-based Dairygold said profits after tax nearly doubled to €17.1m from €9.5m a year ago.

The profits came on turnover that increased by nearly a quarter to €693m.

Chief executive Jim Woulfe said that the company had benefited from higher milk prices and continued growth in world markets.

"The performance in our dairy operations reflects the improved efficiency of our plant, the continued optimisation of our product and customer portfolios, combined with strong returns internationally, which triggered an increase in on-farm milk production and drove dairy sales volumes.

"Our agri-operations benefited from the increased demand for farm inputs to support higher milk production on-farm, as well as boosting our share of the feed and fertiliser market.

"Retail sales grew, following the first full year's operation of the seven stores acquired from Reox Holdings in late 2009.

"Dairygold paid a market-leading milk price throughout the year, reflecting the uplift in returns from international dairy markets," he said.

Mr Woulfe added that the co-op was now focused on setting itself up for the removal of milk quotas in 2015 and was concentrating on the Asian market, particularly China.

Meanwhile, Arrabawn Co-op yesterday reported annual profits after tax of just under €1.8m, up slightly on last year's €1.65m.

Operating profit jumped by nearly €3m to €4.2m but much of that was wiped out by charges relating to the co-op's acquisition of the Dawn Dairies milk business in Galway a year ago. Turnover increased by a third to €169.1m.

Co-op chairman Michael Flaherty said that the increase in profits was based on better world dairy product prices, increases in milk volumes from suppliers, and the purchase of the Dawn Dairies business from Kerry Group.

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