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Dairy giant Dale Farm increases profits to almost £8m

By John Mulgrew

Dairy giant Dale Farm has seen its pre-tax profits surge by 16% to almost £8m

The company says the “solid” results came in a “year of two halves”.

The firm, which is headed by Nick Whelan, saw overall group turnover increase by 5.1% to £389m for the year ending March 2017.

Dale Farm Co-operative has its headquarters in Belfast, and owns a number of brands, including Dale Farm, Mullins ice cream, Fivemiletown cheese and Dromona.

Nick Whelan, Dale Farm’s group chief executive, said:

“For the second year running, Dale Farm has delivered a solid financial performance, despite it having been a year of two halves.

“We witnessed a 12% increase in consumer sales, driven by innovation in product development across our dairy portfolio of butter, ice cream, cheddar cheese, liquid milk, yoghurt and fresh desserts.

“The recovery in global dairy markets in the second half of the year, combined with Dale Farm’s significant cost reduction plan, enabled us to pay a leading milk price to our farmer members in Northern Ireland and across Great Britain.”

“A strategic focus for our business is the development of whey solutions, allowing us to respond to the growing domestic and international trend in protein based products.”

The firm said that its feed business, United Feeds, delivered a “satisfactory performance” despite a "challenging environment for farmers throughout the year".

Dale Farm is Northern Ireland’s largest dairy business. The group manufactures dairy products including cheeses, butter, milk powders, fresh milk, ice cream, yoghurt and desserts, which it sells to over 40 countries worldwide.

The company employs almost 1,100 staff across its sites.

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