Despite a rise in turnover following a challenging year, First Milk has seen a fall in profits.
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First Milk

Figures from the co-operative’s annual report show an operating profit of £5.1m, which was hit by rapidly increased costs due to inflation, the processor said,

However, group turnover of £331m was up 11%, with the net asset value rising 28% or £10.6m to £48.7m.

First Milk had also delivered additional processing capacity to improve efficiency which led to a doubling of capital investment to £14.9m.

New long-term contracts were secured with two of the co-op’s largest customers, Ornua and Nestlé. First Milk also acquired 5% of share capital of Agricarbon.

Shelagh Hancock, chief executive, said the last 12 months had seen considerable change within First Milk.

“Amid the uncertainty of Covid, rising prices and war in Europe it is testament to the hard work of the First Milk team that we were able to deliver our capital projects on time and on budget.”

She added: “We have continued to deliver against our strategic objectives, improving total returns to our members throughout the period, improving milk price by 5.8ppl, equivalent to almost £50m, and increasing net assets by 28% during the year.

“There is no shying away from the realities of the global challenges we all face. However, I am confident that First Milk is well positioned and will continue to deliver for our members.

“We have great customer relationships; a growing export business; efficient, well invested production sites, a market-leading sustainability programme and, of course, some of the best dairy farmers in the world.”

The South Island dairy company Synlait Milk is back in the black as its ingredients division saw higher than normal sales, while its major customer rebalanced inventory levels.

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