First Milk has today announced a series of changes to its capital structure that will see the introduction of a ‘member premium’ in the form of a 13th payment to members from next year, as well as increased transparency in share trading and the freezing of capital contribution targets.
Member premium to be introduced
The First Milk Board has confirmed that a 13th payment will be introduced from April 2019, paid annually to members. This payment will be 0.25ppl for someone that is fully invested in the business, with the payment being pro-rata adjusted based on achievement of the members’ capital target.
In addition, First Milk has confirmed that members’ capital targets will be fixed with immediate effect, based on current milk production levels as calculated in March 2018. This will enable members to grow and expand their milk production without a requirement to contribute additional capital. Member capital contributions will continue for those that have not yet reached their capital target.
Introduction of independent share trading platform
Finally, to make share trading easier and the value of First Milk member shares more transparent, the co-operative has announced that it will work with Asset Match, an independent trading platform, to provide a free to use trading system for members that will deliver market-derived trading prices.
Commenting on these announcements, Chief Executive, Shelagh Hancock, said:
“I am delighted that First Milk now has the financial security to make these important changes to our capital structure. These developments have been agreed in direct response to member feedback and have the full support of the Board and Member Council. In combination, these changes will recognise the loyalty of our long-standing members, remove some existing barriers to expansion on farm, and provide a simple and transparent way for members and retired members to trade shares.
“As we look to the future, these changes will help us deliver our growth strategy, which sees us investing significant capital into our sites to ensure we can meet the growing demand from our customers for our high-quality milk and cheese. By working together to deliver our growth plans I am confident that we will deliver prosperity for our members.”