Aurivo milk supplies up 111% since 2010

Aurivo Co-operative has increased its milk supply by 111% since 2010, according to group CEO Aaron Forde.

Speaking to AgriLand following the publication of the north-west dairy giant’s financial results for 2018, the chief executive looked back on what has been a volatile year in the dairy world.

“As we look back, over a number of years, our milk supply is up by 111% since 2010; or if you exclude the Donegal business, 150% – but, on a like-for-like basis, 111% growth in our region.”

Forde noted that the co-op’s supply is up by 14% in the year to date.

Turning to the current market and reflecting on a challenging year, he described Aurivo’s financial performance as robust.

Forde underlined the volatility present due to global conditions, driven by the well-documented weather conditions in the spring, and then into the summer.

“You’ll see our turnover is up 4%, just under 444 million. Group operating profit came in at €3 million, down from €3.9 million.

The CEO outlined the two primary factors behind the drop in profitability: namely, the co-op’s efforts to support milk price being the most significant; and secondly, a challenging year for the group’s marts business.

The marts division had a tough year for two reasons, it was noted: the marts closed for just over a week due to Storm Emma in March 2018; and subsequently closed again for just over a week following a workplace incident in Mohill Mart.

“We took steps then to make our marts safer from a customer and a staff point of view.”

In addition, 2018 saw the largest investment made in the history of the co-op, Forde said, with €22 million spent by Aurivo, predominantly on a new dryer, in what is the start of a €48 million, five-year investment programme.

“So, overall, we’d characterise a reasonable year, a robust year, reflecting the strength of Aurivo’s underlined business and our operational strength,” Forde said.

Business divisions

In terms of Aurivo’s business divisions, the cooperative’s had a “good, steady performance” in the year, processing 115 million litres of milk, with sales of just under €98.8 million across butter, milk and sports nutrition.

Volatility in butter impacted at retail level, but there was modest continued growth in branded milk and customer-brand milk products.

Aurivo’s sports nutrition business, the ‘For Goodness Shakes’ business, meanwhile had a strong year with sales growth of over 20%.

“Our Dairy Ingredients business had a strong year; sales increased by €10 million – again that’s mostly milk volume driven,” Forde continued, noting a milk volume growth of almost 8%.

The Dairy Ingredients business had sales of €153.4 million, with product distributed to over 50 markets worldwide.

“We continue to expand that number and our customer base, particularly in the middle east and Africa.

Our agri-business, including our Homeland retail stores, 35 of those if you include online, had a very strong year; some of that weather-driven, some of it a good growth in customer numbers.

Sales came in at just under €121 million for the year, up 18%. However, the livestock marts business saw a €10 million reduction in sales, jotting up €71 million over the year.

“With all the challenges, Brexit etc., we believe we have the right strategy, efficiencies in the business and plans to ensure that we deliver a positive and sustainable outcome for members and owners over the coming years,” Forde concluded.