Glanbia plc, the global nutrition group in which Tirlán has an approximately 28% shareholding, reported results on Wednesday 28 February which showed a rise in profits for 2023 to $298.1m (€275.4m) from $248m(€229.2m) in 2022.

The 20% increase in profit was realised despite a drop in turnover of 8.7% to $5.4bn(€4.99bn). Glanbia attributed the drop in revenue to changes in dairy pricing during the year.

The company said it will pay a final dividend of 21.12c(€), bringing total payouts per share for 2023 to 35.4c(€), which is a 10% increase on the previous year.

Glanbia will also return €100m to shareholders via two buyback programmes of €50m. The first of those started on the day the results were announced.

Looking at the two main divisions within Glanbia, the Global Performance Nutrition part of the company, which includes brands such as Optimum Nutrition (ON), Isopure and think! saw like-for-like growth of 4.8% over 2022, with the flagship ON brand hitting $1.1bn of revenue.

Earnings in the division grew substantially, hitting $255m (€236m) before interest, tax and amortisation.

The one brand that failed to perform during the year was Slimfast, which saw comparable growth drop more than 35% from a year earlier, with consumption in the key US market dropping just over 34%.

In the Glanbia nutrition division, which includes the large US cheese business, revenue dropped 12.3% with both volumes and price lower for the year as a whole.

However, the company said that the Nutritional Solutions business saw a strong second half of the year, with volumes increasing every quarter after a substantial drop in the first few months of 2023.


Earnings at the cheese business increased to $42.4m, with margin creeping higher to 1.6%.

Due to a change in the structure of the joint venture in US cheese with Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk Producers this year, the reporting of results from the US cheese business in future will reflect a lower revenue level, while maintaining the share of earnings.

In a worked example presented by the company, the changes would have meant revenues almost $1.8bn lower in 2023, while earnings remain unchanged.

In effect, this means that in future Glanbia will have higher reported earnings (earnings as a percentage of revenue), but it will have no material effect on the company’s results.

Investors clearly welcomed the results, with shares in Glanbia increasing 6% on the day earnings were announced (see Figure 1).

With Tirlán owning approximately 28.5% of the shares of Glanbia, this puts the value of the Kilkenny co-op’s share at €1.25bn, and an increase of over €300m from a year ago.

In the wake of the announcement, the Irish Farmers Journal sat down with Hugh McGuire, who took up the role of CEO in January, following the retirement of Siobhán Talbot, to discuss the results and his ambitions for the company in the future.

One major change with Glanbia’s earnings this year is that it is the first in which the company has reported in US dollars. McGuire emphasised that, despite this, and the amount of business the company does in the US, it has no plans to move its headquarters from Kilkenny or to relist its shares in New York “at this point, or at any point in time”.

Looking at the business McGuire said that within Glanbia Performance Nutrition it has “prioritised for now” spending on the Optimum Nutrition, Isopure and think! brands, but there is a broad portfolio of brands which perform well in different geographies.


On Slimfast, he said: “We bought it in 2018 and it was a rocketship for us in 2019 and 2020 with the keto diet, which unfortunately now has turned out to be a fad.”

While admitting that Slimfast will be a smaller part of the business in future, he is not ready to give up on the brand, despite the disappointing performance in recent years “where we see the core of the business is in ready-to-drink protein shakes.”

He said that consumer brand recognition remains high and is happy to stick with it.

For Glanbia Nutrition as a whole, McGuire wants to concentrate on organic growth for now.

He highlighted the opportunities for the ON brand from its recent tie-up with the McClaren Formula One team, saying “the amount of messages and interest we have got around the brand because of that association is massive”.

Looking at Glanbia Nutritionals, he sees more opportunities for growth through acquisition.

Balance sheet

Glanbia certainly has the balance sheet to fund some purchases, with a very low debt-to-earnings ratio. McGuire said there is real opportunity in the gut-health market, and he is excited about what can be achieved with colostrum for the consumer market.

“We have an active pipeline for acquisitions” he said, without giving details on any deals which might be in the offing.


On the outlook for earnings, the company said it expects revenue growth in Glanbia Performance Nutrition of between 4% and 7% in 2024, while at Glanbia Nutritionals, it will be between 3% and 5%.

Aside from looking at acquisitions, the company is also spending cash on buying back its own shares.

The buybacks will total €100m and will be broken into two tranches of €50m, with the first starting on the day the results were announced.

The transactions will be conducted by J&E Davy, and are scheduled to end on 19 December this year at the latest. The shares will be cancelled by Glanbia when they are bought.

These share buybacks matter for Tirlán as they reduce the number of total shares outstanding in Glanbia.

As Tirlán does not actively trade its holding in Glanbia, the reduction in shares outstanding will mean an increase the total share of Glanbia which Tirlán owns.