DAIRY Farmers of Britain has released preliminary results showing an increase in turnover by 36 per cent to £ 594 million.
The results for the year ended March 2005 show a boost after the farmers' co-operative bought Associated Co-operative Creameries in August for £ 75 million from the Co-operative Group. It has also acquired the dairy arm of Lincolnshire Co-operative.
The co-op's operating profit was up 74 per cent on last year to £ 21.2m. It was also confirmed as the largest dairy co-operative in he country, and the third largest overall in the UK.
Rob Knight, Chairman of DFB, commented: "This has been another year of solid progress for the business. We have continued to build our presence in the processing marketplace, with the acquisition of Associated Co-operative Creameries in August 2004 and the post year-end acquisition of Lincoln Co-operative, and are now the third largest dairy processor in the country with a broadened range of brands and products.
"We continue to focus on building a profitable platform for growth for our members' dairy farming businesses.
"However, the dairy market remains highly competitive. While we have continued to make huge progress in positioning ourselves well within the industry as a whole and are playing a leading role in the much needed restructuring of our industry, the market remains very competitive and we need to respond to this to remain effective."
The accounts will need to be formally approved at the Dairy Farmers of Britain AGM on August 31.
DFB also announced it has sold the Llangadog Creamery in South Wales that it bought from the Co-operative Group.
The land and buildings at the Llangadog site have been sold for an undisclosed sum to Cambrian Pet Foods.
DFB ceased manufacturing at the creamery in July and is currently clearing the site of all remaining equipment. Cambrian Pet Foods will take ownership of the site on December 31.
Commenting on the announcement, Gerry Smith, DFB's Group Operations Director, said: "I am delighted that nearly 70 per cent of our colleagues at Llangadog have already found alternative employment in the area.
"Following tremendous support from the Welsh Development Agency and the Welsh Assembly Government we have now been able to find a purchaser for the site, ensuring further employment opportunities in the local community.
"It is regrettable that Dairy Farmers of Britain has had to close the creamery but this difficult decision was taken to improve the overall business efficiency for our shareholders, the farmer members."