First Milk has continued to strengthen its business in its latest Annual Report and Accounts, with group turnover up 7.8 per cent year on year to £272.3m.
Operating profit has been kept stable at 2.6 per cent of turnover, and the company has reduced net debt by £3.8m year on year with its relative milk price also continuing to improve.
Chief executive Shelagh Hancock said it had been focused on ‘further strengthening and developing the business with a ‘stable financial performance, efficient manufacturing, strengthened commercial relationships and, crucially, improved returns to members’.
She added it remained clear prosperity came from building demand, growing capacity and then securing supply.
“The dairy world is changing fast; economically, socially, technologically and politically,” she said.
“We will continue to be agile and adaptable, broadening our base and collaborating to deliver optimal supply chain solutions that deliver benefit for our members and our customers.”
NFU Scotland milk committee chairman John Smith said after some dark times First Milk had made ‘year-on-year’ progress under Ms Hancock’s team, having focused on building key relationships and strategic partnerships.
But he highlighted the closure over the Arran creamery and uncertainty over the future of Campbeltown, underlining the strategy had shifted away from relatively small scale speciality cheeses.
“That strategy exposes the vulnerability of First Milk members in remote milk fields like Kintyre and Arran,” he said.