28 July 1995

97% sold in 1st MM bid round

MILK Marque has sold 97% of its 7.2bn-litre annual milk supply in just one round of bidding.

Chief executive, Andrew Dare, announcing the figures on Monday (July 24) said this proved the selling system worked and that prices, at 0.5p/litre more than last year, were at the "right level".

Three rounds of bidding were needed last year and some buyers still had their requirements scaled back. But this year all customers were getting all the milk they had requested, Mr Dare said.

The remaining 3% of the milk (about 220m litres) will be offered in a second round of bidding. But this will be restricted to Milk Marques lower-priced "supply led" contracts and the price will be dropped by 0.15p/litre. Bids must be in by July 31.

Sums not done

Asked what price farmers might expect to receive, Mr Dare said the sums had not yet been done. He guaranteed they would not get less for their milk than they had this year, but admitted it would be less than the full 0.5p/litre rise in the selling price.

The Dairy Industry Federation again accused Milk Marque of abusing its monopoly position. "Last year, when there was apparent over-demand, Milk Marque increased all its prices," said DIF president, Neil Davidson. "But this year, with under-demand, Milk Marque is only reducing prices for 3% of supplies at the bottom end of the market.

"The increased burden of 0.5p/ litre on the processing sector is both unjustified and irresponsible," he added. &#42

Shelley Wright