Lakeland co-op ready to face Brexit

The chairman of dairy co-operative Lakeland is confident about Brexit, saying it will face the challenges head on. Lakeland, which operates in 15 counties, said in its annual report revenues were up by 2% to €601m. 

It saw an operating profit of €7.2m before exceptional costs, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of €18.9m.

In his chairman’s address, Alo Duffy said: “There are going to be implications for how trade will be conducted between EU countries and the UK. It’s going to be complex, but I believe business will always find a way.

“Maintaining our progress in challenging circumstances doesn’t mean shutting down our ambitions or our plans when markets are turbulent. Instead, it means investing in strategies and programmes which will allow Lakeland Dairies to grow,” he said.

Mr Duffy’s tone was a contrast to that struck by other dairy co-operatives in recent weeks, including Dairygold bosses who warned that Brexit posed one of the gravest ever threats to the rural economy.

Lakeland, which has a portfolio of 240 dairy products which it exports to 80 countries worldwide, bought Fane Valley Dairies in May 2016, increasing milk intake by 22% to 1.1 billion litres.

Group chief executive Michael Hanley said: “In a challenging and sometimes unpredictable dairy market environment, Lakeland Dairies continued to make very positive progress in 2016. We are especially pleased that, in spite of difficult market conditions, we sold all of our output to really well-established customers where we have consistently increasing levels of demand.”

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