The Belfast headquartered dairy co-operative, Dale Farm, has reported a record jump in group turnover to £481 million (€546 million) with pretax profits also increasing to £10.1 million, its latest end of year report shows.
The co-op, which is owned by 1,300 dairy farmers across Northern Ireland, England and Scotland, delivered one of its strongest financial performances to date during the 12 months ending March 2018.
Dale Farm grew its overall group turnover by 24 per cent to £481 million, while pretax profits jumped year on year from £7.9 million to £10.1 million with Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) totalling £18.1 million.
The co-op’s chief executive Nick Whelan said the latest set of results were the “result of ongoing reinvestment, combined with teamwork and an ambitious strategy that has strengthened partnerships with major customers across the UK, Ireland and beyond”.
Earlier this month Dale Farm confirmed it had won a new contract with Lidl – the largest single deal signed by the retail group with a local agri-food company – to supply cheddar cheese to 8,000 stores throughout 22 countries.
The co-op expects its output of cheese for Lidl to increase by about 15 per cent annually as a result of the new deal which is also also likely to lead to additional jobs.
Dale Farm recently signalled that it is one of a number leading dairy groups that are interested in a possible joint venture with Monaghan based LacPatrick Dairies.
Commenting on the latest annual results Mr Whelan said that the co-op’s ethos is “underpinned by a long term vision to support dairy farming across Northern Ireland and Great Britain and that will remain the driving force behind our strategy going forward”.
He added: “Dale Farm’s focus remains steadfast – to support sustainable farming by paying our members the best possible milk price at all times. I am delighted to be able to report that Dale Farm has moved to the top of the 12-month rolling milk price league in Northern Ireland and, as of this month, is paying the leading milk price on the island of Ireland.”