Ornua, Ireland's largest exporter of Irish dairy products, announced record revenues of €2.1bn in 2017 as it published its operating and financial results for the year ended December 30, 2017. It marked the first year of Ornua's five-year growth plan, Ornua 2021.
It was a record year for Kerrygold in Germany and the US with double-digit volume growth. Ornua Deutschland expanded its production facilities, with an investment of €60m. In the US, a €2m shred and dice line was commissioned and an innovation centre in CoreFX, a US ingredients business, was opened. Meanwhile, in the UK, Ornua completed a strategic acquisition and integration of UK cheese ingredients business F.J. Need (Foods) Ltd.
A total of 34 new product innovations were launched, including a Kerrygold shredded cheese range in Germany and innovative white cheese ingredients products expanded to UAE, Kuwait and Oman markets
The Group closed the year with net cash of €0.3m. In November 2017, it refinanced its bank facilities for another five years, increasing them to €610m, leaving it well placed to support dairy industry expansion and to drive further growth across the Group.
Kevin Lane, CEO of Ornua, said 2017 was a year of significant growth for Ornua with an excellent financial performance. "We successfully delivered year one of our new five-year growth plan. Product innovation continued at pace and allowed us to unlock new routes to market to ultimately drive value for our members, Ireland's dairy processors and Irish farmers. A major emphasis on building scale and capability within our core business last year, coupled with the integration of recent acquisitions, leaves us well placed to drive further growth across our group. Despite volatile market conditions and Brexit uncertainties, we remain on track to deliver our 2021 vision of a €3bn revenue business."
The 2017 results reflect the strong product price returns paid by Ornua to its members and have facilitated the Group in declaring a €15m members' bonus, up from €9.5m in 2016 (in addition a €5m DPI related bonus was paid in 2016). Ornua said it is continuing to work with members to help them manage the challenges posed by market volatility and increased the volume of purchases under fixed term contracts.