European dairy giant Arla has hailed 2013 its most successful year yet with profits of £250million.
Firmly positioning itself as the biggest dairy company in the country, the farmer co-operative’s UK turnover rose 22% last year to £2.2billion.
As a result of both the merger with Milk Link in 2012 and a fierce recruitment drive in 2013, the co-op now has 2,800 farmer owners – one in four dairy farmers – in the UK.
It currently sources 3billion litres of milk a year – 26% of the country’s milk pool – in the UK and plans to recruit an additional 300million litres of milk capacity this year.
Global turnover at the dairy co-op, which has more than 12,000 owner members across the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium, was up 16.6% to £8.4billion.
In addition, Arla says it delivered its highest performance price yet in 2013 as a result of strong European business and growth in markets outside of the EU.
The performance price – an indication of how much value Arla has been able to generate from each kilo of milk supplied by co-op owners – was up 12% to 33.91p a kg from 30.21p in 2012.
Chief executive Peder Tuborgh said the co-op expected revenue to increase to £8.7billion in 2014 with increased profits of £265million. “Given the current market expectations it is Arla’s ambition to deliver a performance price of 36.1p a kg to 37.3p a kg,” he added.
Arla says its key focus in the UK is growing its core cheddar and speciality cheese business – from April it will increase its cheese production by 50% to supply Asda with 30,000 tonnes of cheddar a year.
It has also signed an exclusive partnership with Starbucks to supply 30million litres of its Cravendale-branded milk to 700 stores in the UK and Northern Ireland every year.
Key brands produced by Arla include Cravendale, Lurpak and Anchor.