Farmers benefit from co-op’s plc shares

KERRY Co-op has transferred 10% of its equity stake in Kerry Group Plc directly back to its farmer shareholders.

As a result, the stake in Kerry Group held directly by the co-operative has dipped by just over 3%, from 30.8% to 27.7%.

Over 5.7 million shares were allocated on a pro rata basis to co-op member who were the beneficiaries of 8.12 public limited company shares for every co-op share held.

Kerry shares traded up by 0.3% yesterday or 5 cents to €16.10. Until this latest development the co-op held 57.7m shares in the Plc, and the result of the 10% transfer means farmers have been given direct ownership of a further 5.7m shares in Kerry Group.

The move gives greater flexibility to farmers who may want to sell shares to boost their incomes, or who simply want to realise some of their investment having moved on from farming.

The stock exchanges have been notified, because, as a result of the change in ownership, some co-op nominees on Kerry’s board directors, have had their personal holdings boosted.

Last night, a spokesman for the plc stressed that Kerry Group was not directly involved in this transaction.

The decision was taken by the co-op. Kerry Group Plc was, however, obliged to inform the stock market.

Since 1993, the co-op has passed back ownership of Kerry Group Plc shares to farmers as a means of enhancing their personal stakes in the Plc, while also offering them a mechanism for realising some of the value of their holdings in the multinational food group.

Further allocations were handed back in 1997 and 2002, in line with co-op policy of given its members more flexibility over their stake holdings in Kerry Group Plc.

Shares in the group took a knock after the group announced that profits for the year would be flat, due to oil prices and other cost pressures.

The shares it a high this year of €20.85.

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