First Milk Reports Solid Progress

In 2009/10, there was a marked improvement in the financial performance of First Milk compared to the prior year. The key financials are:

A £10.3m positive swing in pre-tax profitability resulting in a profit of £0.4m. This turnaround in profit was achieved against a backdrop of a global economic downturn and falling commodity markets.

Group turnover was £536m - a decrease of 8% on 2008/09, which reflected the decision to move away from several low margin cheese contracts.

Net bank debt reduced by £10.7m compared to 2008/09. As at 31 March 2010, net bank debt was £69m against a total facility of £130m.

£8.2m was invested in a number of capital projects during 2009/10, compared to £4.4m in 2008/09. This money was spent on a range of site improvement and upgrade projects to advance our efficiency.

Chairman Bill Mustoe, commented:

"Overall, the business made progress during the year to 31 March 2010. Financially, we are in a stronger position, with improved profitability, a sound balance sheet and reduced net debt.

"We have entered 2010/11 with an increased momentum to deliver change. A range of efficiency savings and better market returns has delivered profits ahead of target for the first quarter. This has allowed us to fund a number of increases in members' milk price.

"We have also taken steps to restructure our Executive team including the appointment of a new chief executive in April and are in the process of reshaping our Board to ensure that we have broader commercial experience around the table.

"When I first joined First Milk at the end of October 2009, I talked about creating a momentum that is unstoppable. We have made progress down that road and we will continue to target opportunities that offer greatest market value, while reducing our cost base and improving efficiencies. This will allow us to maximise cash revenues and therefore continue to improve our relative milk price."

Finally, in a new move, First Milk will provide a trading update to members before the end of the calendar year relating to business performance for the six months to 30 September 2010.

Click here to view the Financial Summary & Highlights and full Financial Statements. 


For more information please contact:

Paul Flanagan on 07767 241452


16 August 2010