Dairygold took the coveted Cork Company of the Year title last night at Cork Chamber’s annual dinner.

The accolade comes as the largest farmer-owned business in the country has been significantly expanding its operation in Cork with hundreds of millions of euro in investment.

Formed in 1990 following a merger between two of the most historic co-operatives in Cork, Ballyclough and Mitchelstown, Dairygold is now Ireland’s largest farmer-owned dairy business and the country’s second largest dairy processor, producing 1.2 billion litres of milk annually (around 20% of the Irish milk pool) from its 2,900 milk suppliers, with 95% of its dairy products exported worldwide. With 1,150 employees and a turnover of €800m, its dairy business produces milk powders, whey proteins and cheeses.

Chief executive of Dairygold, Jim Woulfe, said: “We in Dairygold are delighted to have won the esteemed Cork Company of the Year 2017. This recognises the successful execution of the current phase of Dairygold’s strategy through the completion of phase one capital investments programme, key strategic partnerships agreed and the economic benefits being delivered to the wider Cork region, all made possible by the commitment and support of the organisation’s many stakeholders.”

Cork Emerging Company of the Year 2017 went to OrthoXel, a medical device start-up company founded in 2014 to develop and commercialise orthopaedic trauma products.

Cork SME Company of the Year 2017 is Irish International Trading Corporation, a top wholesaler of agricultural and general hardware since 1920.

Cork Non-Profit of the Year 2017 is Enable Ireland, a 63-year-old organisation which provides therapy and support to over 640 children and 60 adults with disabilities and their families.

Now in its 20th year, the awards are run in association with Vodafone and are the region’s most prestigious business awards, with a rigorous judging process. Partnered by the Irish Examiner, the awards were presented in front of 1,000 guests. In his address, Cork Chamber president Barrie O’Connell called for major infrastructure investment in Cork, including the M20 motorway, if it was to achieve its enormous potential.

“The population of Cork is larger than Galway, Limerick and Waterford combined. Cork is the fulcrum to drive all Munster forward. Cork has a key role to play regionally and nationally with the capacity to outperform over the next 20 years,” he said.


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