First Milk continues to make progress

The first set of half-year results that First Milk has produced shows that progress at the dairy co-operative is being maintained.

For the six-month period to 30 September 2010, the company delivered improved numbers for all its key financial measures as a result of across the board business improvements.

Comparing these results against the same six-month period in the prior year:

q    Turnover was up £24 million to £280 million
q    Operating profits were up £11.8 million to £3.8 million
q    Profits before tax were up £12.2 million to £3.2 million
q    Bank debt was down £32 million to £63 million

Commenting on these results, First Milk's chairman Bill Mustoe said:
 
"This is the first time that we have produced half-year results and they are a good set of figures, demonstrating continuing momentum. We have laid out a strategy to drive shareholder returns, grow our brands, diversify our product and market mix, lower our cost base and seek value in partnerships. The results today on top of milk price rises to our farmer members of 2.2 pence per litre during 2010, confirm that we are delivering against this strategy.
 
"Benchmarking these half-year numbers against the prior year shows a greatly improved performance. The results in the first six months of last year were poor, mainly as a result of paying out a milk price that was ahead of market returns, a tactic we no longer pursue. The sale of one third of our Wiseman Dairies shareholding for £18.5 million in November 2009 also played an important role in the lower 2010/11 net debt number.

"The main story for me is that we have made good progress on getting the fundamentals of the business right and have been able to deliver big improvements against all our key financial measures.

"Looking ahead to the next six months, we are convinced that our strategy continues to be appropriate for the tough market conditions and expect this solid turnaround to be maintained."

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Paul Flanagan on 07767 241452

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