26 March 1999

Co-ops share offer windfall

DAIRY farmer members of supply co-op Aberdeen Milk are in line for an average £7000 windfall, plus a 1p/litre improvement in milk price, if they take up an offer from Robert Wiseman Dairies for their shares.

If accepted, Wiseman would secure about 87m litres from 118 farmers to supply the companys Tullos liquid dairy in Aberdeen.

Wiseman already buys 91% of Aberdeen Milks output. But it still has to ship in about 30% of its supplies for the Tullos factory from outside of north-east Scotland.

The offer is being recommended by Aberdeen Milks board. "Wisemans processing plant at Tullos is next to our milk field," said chairman, Bill Ferguson. "The offer allows our shareholders to receive £1.50 for their £1 shares, and producers will also benefit from an increase in their milk price in excess of 1p/litre."

This is because Wiseman has guaranteed Aberdeen Milk members not less than it pays to existing direct suppliers in Scotland. According to the latest farmers weekly Milk Price Review (page 24), that amounts to 19.94p/litre compared with 18.58p/litre.

The share offer and milk price increase combined would give a £2m cash injection to the local farming community, said a Wiseman spokesman. He hoped that would encourage producers to expand, enabling the company to source more of its milk locally.

The future of Twin Towers, Aberdeen Milks powder plant which is contract processing for Milk Marque, will be reviewed.

Shareholders have until Apr 17 to decide, with 90% in favour needed to secure the deal. &#42