First Milk continues to deliver profitable growth

18 July 2022

First Milk delivers growth in turnover along with largest-ever capital investment programme and strengthened commercial relationships during a challenging year.

First Milk has today published its Annual Report and Accounts for the year ending March 31, 2022, which shows continued profitable growth and a strengthened balance sheet, delivering long-term security for its co-operative members.

Key highlights:

  • Group turnover up 11% to £331m through a combination of volume growth and increased value
  • Net asset value increased by 28% (£10.6m) to £48.7m as a result of ongoing delivery of profit, improved pension position and capital expenditure
  • Capital investment doubled to £14.9m, delivering additional processing capacity and improving efficiency
  • New long-term contracts secured with two largest customers, Ornua and Nestlé
  • Acquired 5% of share capital of Agricarbon
  • Operating profit of £5.1m, impacted year on year by inflation and speed of recovery
  • Net debt increased to £43.4m facilitating capital investment to build long-term resilience
  • 96% of milk volume signed up to Regenerative Farming Programme
  • Post year-end launched Golden Hooves, a new regenerative branded on-farm vending franchise business

Commenting on the results, Shelagh Hancock, Chief Executive, said:

“The last twelve months has seen considerable change within First Milk, as we accelerated our capital investment programme to secure the future for our members. Amid the uncertainty of COVID, rising prices and war in Europe it is testament to the hard work of the First Milk team that we were able to deliver our capital projects on time and on budget, whilst continuing to build on our strong customer relationships, deliver much-needed milk price increases for our members and significantly progress our sustainability agenda.

“Indeed, we have continued to deliver against our strategic objectives, improving total returns to our members throughout the period, improving milk price by 5.8ppl, equivalent to almost £50m, and increasing net assets by 28 per cent during the year.

“Of course, there is no shying away from the realities of the global challenges we all face. However, I am confident that First Milk is well positioned and will continue to deliver for our members. We have great customer relationships; a growing export business; efficient, well invested production sites, a market-leading sustainability programme and, of course, some of the best dairy farmers in the world. That is a great foundation for future success.”

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