Longford Farming: Developments at Lakeland Dairies further advance competitiveness and processing

Lakeland Dairies reports 2016 Results

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

Lakeland Dairies new board members

Board members of Lakeland Dairies with CEO Michael Hanley

Lakeland Dairies has reported an upward turn in its financial results for last year.

In spite of difficult dairy market conditions, the local co-op turned in a very robust performance with revenues up by 2% to €601m, yielding an operating profit of €7.2m before exceptional costs, and EBITDA of €18.9m.

Lakeland Dairies closed the year with a strong balance sheet and shareholder’s funds of €102m.

The co-op also acquired Fane Valley Dairies in May of last year.

The takeover increased milk intake by 22% to 1.1bn litres.

The Food Ingredients Division performed strongly in a challenging year with revenues increasing by 9% to €353.6m, while Foodservice Revenues of €194.1m indicated a decline of 3.8% on the previous year.

Agribusiness revenues reduced by 14% to €53.3m for the year and this reduction in revenue relates to a combination of lower sales volumes due to the overall difficulties experienced by dairy farmers during the year, plus feed and fertiliser price reductions.

Michael Hanley, Group Chief Executive, said that in a challenging and sometimes unpredictable dairy market environment, Lakeland Dairies continued to make very positive progress last year.

“Our developments have further advanced our competitiveness and processing scale,” he added.

“We are especially pleased that, in spite of difficult market conditions, we sold all of our output to really well established customers where we have consistently increasing levels of demand.”

Mr Hanley went on to say that after going through a sustained period where international dairy markets had been “very volatile”, the market had subsequently become stronger. However, he did warn that the market’s continuing strength could not be predicted.

“Our aim is to be the most efficient and most competitive dairy processor in line with the highest, world class standards of operation, and we are well advanced along that pathway,” he added.

“We want our milk producers to see the best possible and most sustainable returns from their dairying.

“With the strategic investments we have made, we are able to process as much milk as our suppliers can provide.

“We are now processing milk into 240 different products which gives us great flexibility in our approach to meeting market needs.

“We have a strong presence in international markets, exporting nearly 100% of our output, and have built a name for quality and reliability across over 80 countries worldwide.

“That can justifiably provide our milk producers with a high level of confidence in their long term future and success.”