First Milk accounts: Turnover up but profit down

First Milk bosses report “another year of solid progress” as accounts show significant investment in its own sites.

The accounts for the year ending March 31, 2018, which were published today, show that over the year group turnover increased by £46.2 million to £252.7 million.

Total group capital and reserves also increased by £5.4 million to £27.4 million.

However, £3.2 million of investment across all of First Milk’s sites almost halved net profit for the year. In 2018, the firm’s profit was £3.2 million compared to £6 million the year before.

The report also highlights key operational highlights such as:

  • Winning the Nestle Best Strategic Partnership award in February 2018;
  • The appointment of new chairman, Chris Thomas on August 1, 2018;
  • The launch of its ‘Next Generation’ programme in November 2017;
  • The start of a £6.5 million capital investment programme at Haverfordwest Creamery in March 2018.

First Milk chief executive Shelagh Hancock said: “This second year of positive trading results demonstrates that First Milk is consistently delivering stable financial performance and making solid progress on strengthening and growing the business.

“Critically, we have done this whilst putting our farmer members back at the heart of the business and, most importantly, delivering improved returns to our members.”

Not so long ago, things were very different for the co-op. In 2016, First Milk made a loss of £5.1 million. The year before its losses almost hit £25 million.

However, Hancock said the firm is now “well-placed” for growth.

She said: “With strong foundations now firmly in place, First Milk is well-placed for future growth. As we look forward, our clear strategic focus is to drive profitable growth across our cheese and fresh milk businesses.

We have embarked on significant capital investment at our sites to support the growing demand from our customers, enabling our members to increase milk production with confidence.

“Through the implementation of this growth strategy in the years ahead we will deliver prosperity for our members.”