LacPatrick co-op recorded an operating profit of just under €3m for 2016, on a turnover of €234.5m.

However, the co-op also files separate accounts in NI, relating to its sites at Ballyrashane and Artigarvan. The latest figures show 15 months of trading at Ballyrashane (August 2015 to December 2016) and 12 months of trading at Artigarvan to end of December 2016.

Given that LacPatrick is a new entity, there are no historical comparisons to be made.

The accounts for the NI business (a wholly owned subsidiary of LacPatrick Co-op), show a turnover of £175.8m, producing an operating profit of £4.74m. Once exceptional items are removed, profit before tax is £284,000.

These exceptional items include £825,000 of costs and expenses as Ballyrashane was integrated into the LacPatrick Dairies Group, and also costs incurred when Artigarvan was moved across to LacPatrick Dairies NI.

There was also £2.9m of costs, as the company had entered into a number of contracts to minimise its exposure to movements in the euro-sterling exchange rate.

However, with the devaluation of sterling after the EU referendum, these contracts ended up as loss-making.

Across the NI company, turnover was mostly driven by sales of liquid milk (£68.5m), butter (£57m) and milk powder (£41m).

Employee numbers in NI averaged 176 over the period, and around 500 farmers supplied an average of 697,000 litres, at an average milk price of 20.08p/litre.


Meanwhile, after significant governance changes, LacPatrick has announced that Monaghan farmer Andrew McConkey is the new chairman of the board.

He is supported in that role by two vice-chairs, north Antrim dairy farmer Robert Skelton and Keith Agnew, who farms between Newry and Markethill.