The northwest-based co-op saw operating profit increase 25% to €3.6m for the year ended 31 December 2016. Turnover dropped by 7% to €391m – mainly due to the disposal of the co-op’s shareholding in ECC, the Galway-based timber processor and a more challenging year for its marts and agri businesses. The consumer foods and dairy ingredients businesses performed strongly.

The co-op went through a number of changes during the year, including moving its butter packing operations to Ornua’s new production facility in Mitchelstown, Co Cork. According to the co-op, the decision was to drive efficiency in its butter operations. The year also saw Aurivo dispose of its shareholding in two investments, namely; ECC and Progressive Genetics, allowing it to focus on its core dairy, mart and agribusiness areas and put Aurivo’s capital to optimum use. Net debt was up €8m, to €16.6m at year end. Aurivo processed a total of 400m litres last year, with 370m litres supplied from farmers. The co-op paid a weighted average milk price of 27.6c/l in 2016.

Chief Executive, Aaron Forde said: “In what was a challenging and volatile year, we are pleased to announce a robust performance by Aurivo across all facets of its business in 2016. The year was a difficult one for the dairy farmer and farming in general. With this and general all round economic uncertainty as a backdrop, our focus was twofold – to support our suppliers, while at the same time focusing on delivering efficiencies across the business to safeguard its continued financial and operational success.”

Aurivo’s consumer foods business had a strong year, where overall sales across milk, butter and sports nutrition increased by €8m to €88.4m, a rise of 9%. The Connacht Gold butter brand grew by 3% over the period. For Goodness Shakes, the sport nutrition brand Aurivo purchased in 2015 had a strong year where volumes increased 31% and turnover increased 22% during the year.

Its dairy Ingredients business saw turnover increase by 2.6% to €102.1m. This was driven by a recovery in global dairy markets in the second half of the year.

Its agribusiness division recorded a 4% decline in turnover to €97.2m primarily as a result of reduced commodity pricing on fertiliser and poor weather conditions during the year.

Turnover at the marts fell 9% to €78.5m due to poor cattle prices where the average price of cattle was down €84/head while cattle numbers fell 3% to 76,858.

Listen to “Looking at the outlook for milk prices in 2017 with Aurivo's CEO” on Spreaker.