Operating profit more than doubles at Lakeland Dairies in 2017

Profits at Lakeland Dairies – one of the island’s largest milk processors – have more than doubled in just a year, its latest accounts show.

The year ending December 31, 2017, saw group annual revenues of €769.8 million (£683 million) and operating profit of €16.8 million (£14.9 million) for 2017.

It means revenue has risen by around a third from €601 million (£514.6 million) in 2016.

Headline figures

Over the same period, operating profit hit €16.8 million (£14.9 million) – more than double the €7.2 million (£6.2 million) generated in 2016.

The co-operative also closed the year with a 15% increase in shareholders’ funds at €117.6 million (£104.3 million).

Earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortisation (EBIDTA) were €32.6 million (£28.9 million); increasing significantly from €18.9 million (£16.2 million) in 2016.

Milk volumes processed in 2017 increased to over 1.2 billion litres, reflecting ongoing expansion among Lakeland Dairies’ 2,500 milk producers and a full year of milk supply from Fane Valley dairy farmers.

The firm took over rival Fane Valley Dairies in May 2016.

Lakeland’s suppliers are split with around 750 in Northern Ireland and just over 1,700 in the Republic of Ireland.

However, on average, Northern Irish herds produce nearly three times as much milk annually with average yields of 800,000L compared with 320,000L in the south.

The co-operative has also retained and fully maintained its milk powder and butter facility at Banbridge, Co. Down, which provides continuing flexibility and opportunities in relation to any potential Brexit outcomes.

Global logistics centre

Lakeland Dairies also recently invested €10 million (£8 million) in its technologically-advanced global logistics centre and major dairy processing site at Newtownards, Co. Down.

The accounts published today reflect the first full year the centre – which opened in September 2015 – spent in operation.

The efficiencies being achieved through all operations enabled the removal of milk collection charges (cartage), with an overall reduction of costs of £4.4 million (€5 million) to milk suppliers annually.

Farmer-owned Lakeland Dairies operates across 15 counties on a cross-border basis, processing milk into a wide range of value-added dairy foodservice products and food ingredients.

Lakeland has a portfolio of 240 different dairy products which it exports to 80 countries worldwide.