Tipperary Co-op at this week’s AGM announced its Trading Results for 2012. Turnover at € 138.8 m was down by 6% on 2011 levels, mainly due to lower selling
prices for dairy products particularly during peak milk supply months. Profit for the year was €1.28 m, up 22 % on year ago. The solid performance was achieved against a background of strong support being delivered to milk suppliers in the context of poor market returns and difficult weather conditions.
It was against this background that the Society’s chairman, Mr Matthew Quinlan, referred to the health of the business as the existing restrictions on milk supply come to an end in 2015. He said “we are very confident of the future of our business. We have adopted a strategic direction which will enable our milk suppliers to increase their production with minimal investment in processing facilities in the Co-op.”
He also referred to the process of consultation on the Co-op’s future vision – “earlier this year we presented our vision and arrangements for increased milk output and the feedback to our proposals was extremely positive.” He also pointed out, “that one of the key elements of future milk supply arrangements is the adoption of a new Share Standard “. This links the milk supply of shareholders with the number of shares they hold in the Society. He also referred to the Society introducing a new Milk Payment Scheme, known as ‘ A+B-C ‘ in 2013, which he said “is a system that best rewards efficient milk production techniques and at the same time acts as an incentive for the adoption of best practice at farm level.”
Mr Michael Dunlea, Financial Controller, in his address to shareholders provided a wide ranging analysis of the year’s performance and highlighted the reduction in borrowings of €3.6m at the end of 2012 as against year ago. He stressed that “cash flow management continues to be a key element of our business and the Balance Sheet strength provides a very solid foundation for the business as the post quota era approaches.”
Mr Ted O’Connor, the Society’s General Manager, in his address to the meeting reviewed the performance of the various elements of the business in 2012.
He referred to the adoption of a new Share Standard as being essential for underpinning of post quota processing and marketing development of the Co-op.
He also referred to the adoption of the milk supply agreement, which is currently with suppliers, as being very important for planning purposes. He stressed the merits of being strategically ready for coping with post quota milk surge going on to say that “the Society has been engaged with the development of a strategic approach centered on process and market development at minimum cost to supplier /shareholders.”
He referred to “the detailed programme of Research and Development being embraced upon which has a major focus on cheese in order to enhance premium and overall net margin in comparison to alternatives.” He went on to deal with “investment in a ‘ Lean Manufacturing Programme ‘ through a system of people and process development” . He outlined the Society’s involvement in development of a policy on sustainability in conjunction with Irish Dairy Board and individual customers. He explained that “our facilities are being upgraded to meet customer requirements and this also involves a programme of targeted reduction in waste, energy and water usage.”
He further explained that it was the intention to roll out the sustainability programme to production at farm level. He pointed out that “embracing the green image is a natural expression of our production and processing regime and is a huge advantage in the promotion of Irish Dairy products in the global market place.”
Mr O’Connor concluded his address by outlining the current positive market sentiment, which he expected to continue at least in the medium term and this
should be reflected in firm milk pricing.