Irish co-operative Lakeland Diaries has doubled its group revenues over the past five years.
The co-op reported revenues of €1.03bn in 2019 in its first annual report since the merger with LacPatrick Dairies in April 2019, a 27.7% increase on the previous year.
Operating profit was up €2.97m (16.9%) to €20.5m while EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation & Amortisation) stood at €42.9m, an increase of €9.3m from the previous year.
A farmer-owned dairy processing co-op, Lakeland collects 1.85bn litres of milk from 3,200 farming families across 16 counties in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Group chief executive Michael Hanley said he was satisfied with the 2019 performance. He said: “As a business, we’re pleased to report this strong and prudent set of accounts. This is a positive outcome for 2019, based on a strong and efficient performance across all operating divisions.
“This has been done while leveraging from additional revenue streams and the overall synergies achieved by the merger of Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies which created the newly constituted Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society Ltd in April of last year.
“The success of the merger process to date has demonstrated the true potential for Lakeland Dairies to realise our strategic plans for continuing growth and development in the decades ahead.
“We are driven by delivering further value and long-term sustainability for our 3,200 farm families, north and south, while providing competitive advantage for our global food ingredients customers in 80 markets worldwide.”
In spite of the positive financial results of 2019, Mr Hanley warns that Covid-19 is having a negative impact on the dairy market but says the co-op is prepared to face the “considerable challenges”ahead.
“The on-going market disruption caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic has put a significant drag on markets, particularly in the foodservice sector,” he added. “A lack of clarity on the shape of the trading relationship between the EU and the UK post-Brexit is of concern to us, too. Not to mention the ongoing global dairy supply and demand dynamic, which has a huge influence on international markets.
“Lakeland Dairies traces its roots back over some 125 years. In that time, we have faced and overcome many challenges. Backed by our 3,200 farm families as well as our loyal customers and committed staff, we are confident of being able to tackle these challenges.”
Lakeland Dairies chairman Alo Duffy said: “2019 was a truly historic year for the dairy industry and the milk suppliers in the northern half of the island following the merger between Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies in April.
“The merger that we have collectively and co-operatively achieved has been a success. This has enabled us to go from strength to strength and it is now instrumental in our capacity to deal with the current challenging times facing us all.
“Based on our positive achievements and our continuing co-operative endeavours, you may be assured that we will meet any such challenges and many opportunities with an absolute and unwavering determination to succeed. I thank each of our 3,200 farm families for the continued support of their society.”