Glanbia Co-operative Society paid out close to €66m in dividends and member supports last year to both milk and grain suppliers. This is up from a €49m spend on supports and dividends in 2015.
Direct supports for co-op members for fertiliser and feed, as well as bonuses for milk and grain, totalled €37.3m in 2016.
The co-op also paid close to €21m, or 52c/share, in dividends to farmer members last year. Ordinary dividends amounted to just over €4m, while a special dividend totalling €16.9m was also paid over two tranches in 2016.
The payment of this special dividend to members arose after the co-op sold 4m of its shares in Glanbia plc in May 2015. A €67.4m member support fund was created from this sale with a commitment from the co-op to pay 25% of that fund as a special dividend to all its shareholders, representing €16.9m.
New and retired members
Since 2015, Glanbia co-op has opened a share trading programme to grant access to new members and allow retiring farmers a way to cash in their shareholding.
In total, 1,533 members availed of the share cancellation programme at €5/share. This cost the co-op €9.3m and saw 1.9m shares cancelled.
Over the last two years, 794 new members have joined the co-op. A total of 1.7m shares at €5 were issued to these at a cumulative cost of €8.5m. In total, Glanbia co-op now has close to 14,800 members.
Under the Glanbia Advance Payment (GAP) scheme, which essentially pays farmers earlier for their milk and grain at times of low prices, €5.8m was paid out, following applications from 1,346 farmers.
Members of Glanbia co-op supplied close to 2.1bn litres of milk to Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) for processing last year, 6% more than the previous year. Almost two thirds (63%) of Glanbia suppliers increased supply to GII.
Glanbia co-op, which derives its sole income from the plc dividend, recorded a 4% decline in operating profits last year to €10.1m.
While dividend income from the co-op’s shareholding in Glanbia plc increased slightly to €13.6m, administration costs at the co-op increased 40% to €2.7m.
Based on Glanbia plc’s current share value of €18.33, Glanbia co-op’s 36.5% shareholding in the plc is valued at just under €2bn.
The co-op held a net cash position of €99m at year-end. However, there is a €100m exchangeable bond (debt) against this coming from when the co-op leveraged 1.45% of its shareholding in Glanbia plc last year to create this bond.