€1.75m loss for Connacht Gold

A €1.75 million loss was recorded by Connacht Gold last year, according to the co-op’s annual report published yesterday.

Group turnover was €310m, down 2.8% on 2007, due to declining dairy product prices and lower returns from investments and property. Gross profit fell from €73m to €62m.

The co-op said that the slump in international dairy markets resulted in a challenging year but it was strong financially and operationally.

Connacht Gold is a diversified business with activities in consumer foods, dairy ingredients, livestock and property marketing, agribusiness, and timber processing.

It employs 570 people and has 14,100 farmer shareholders in Connacht and Co Donegal.

Chief executive Aaron Forde said the difficulties in 2008 would have been greater had it not been for a strong performance over the society’s mix of activities.

The excellent performance by non-dairy activities was not reflected in the financial results.

This was due to the co-op supporting milk prices at a level above product returns from the market place.

Chairman Padraig Gibbons said the co-op’s strong financial and operational strength enabled it to support milk price in tough dairy market conditions, but that level of support could not be continued.

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