Price fall batters Milk Marque

11 June 1998

Price fall batters Milk Marque

MILK MARQUE, the farmer-owned co-operative, has been battered by a fall in milk prices that helped processing companies such as Unigate and Express Dairies report higher profits earlier this week.

Poul Christensen, Milk Marque chairman, said £900 million had “gone missing out of dairy farmers pockets” since milk prices peaked two years ago.

Milk Marques turnover in the year to 31 March fell 20% to £1.44bn. Of the fall, 7% was due to lower volumes as members left the co-op. Milk Marques full-year pre-tax profits slipped from £14.2m to £13.6m.

Paul Beswick, managing director, said the 18.2ppl farmers had received for milk since the start of April was “not sustainable” and it was below most farmers cost of production. He said prices would have to rise in the next semi-annual selling round due to begin early next month.

Milk Marques farmers received an average price for milk in 1997-98 of 20.54ppl down from 24.21p, the previous year. Members will also receive 0.48ppl top-up for 1997-98. This represents a profit distribution, a payment from reserves and a £6m tax reclaim.

Milk Marque reiterated its determination to become a sizeable processor. Milk Marque Developments has identified a greenfield site in south west England where a plant could be built.

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