Aurivo posts 55% drop in profit amid falling milk prices

Co-op, formerly known as Connacht Gold, describes trading environment as volatile

   Padraig Gibbons, chairman of Aurivo with Donal Tierney, CFO and Aaron Forde, Chief Executive of Aurivo. Picture Kenneth O’Halloran/JCP.

Padraig Gibbons, chairman of Aurivo with Donal Tierney, CFO and Aaron Forde, Chief Executive of Aurivo. Picture Kenneth O’Halloran/JCP.

 

Dairy co-op Aurivo, formerly Connacht Gold, posted a 55 per cent drop in operating profit to €3 million last year amid the ongoing slump in milk prices.

Group revenues declined by 6 per cent to €420 million in what the group described as a “volatile market”.

However, the co-op notched up a strong performance in its consumer foods divisions, which includes its signature Connacht Gold butter brand.

The division saw revenues increase by €5 million to €80.3 million in 2015.

The improvement was driven by a combination of stronger butter and liquid milk sales, and growth in its new “For Goodness Shakes” brand.

Aurivo acquired the UK-based sports nutrition company last year for a reported price of €28 million.

Turnover in the group’s ingredients division declined to €99.5 million from €135.8 million principally as a result of weaker dairy prices.

The group’s agribusiness division was said to have performed well given the current market weaknesses with turnover marginally down at €101.4 million.

Aurivo’s marts business, meanwhile, saw year-on-year turnover increase by 6.8 per cent to €86.5 million.

The group’s net assets were largely unchanged at €56.8 million despite a €4.4 million decline in its “other assets” catergory to €16.8 million, which was blamed on the fall-off in value of its shares in Swiss-Irish group Aryzta.

With the lifting of Europe’s long-standing quota regime, milk supply growth expanded by 12 per cent since April, Aurivo said, noting 2015 was a record year for weekly production, which helped deliver further plant efficiencies.

The dairy situation remains “very challenging” and a difficult 2016 is expected while supply continues to exceed demand, the co-op said.

Chief executive Aaron Forde told The Irish Times he did not expect a pick-up in milk prices until at least the end of 2016 or the beginning of next year.

“Perhaps some of the anticipated levels out of China may not materialise, but I do think it will continue to be a hugely important dairy market,” he added.