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Murray Goulburn says changes have impacted bottom line

Australia's largest dairy co-operative has returned a modest profit for the last financial year.

November 13, 2012 4:01am

Murray Goulburn Co-operative recorded an after tax profit of $37million, the annual report has revealed.

The company has emphasised its change agenda in the financial year and noted that the profit figure was further reduced by significant items including staff redundancies.

New chief executive Gary Helou said the rationalising, redundancies, and other cost savings should result in more than $50 million of further savings in the current year.

Mr Helou said the company delivered a final weighted average farmgate price of $5.44/kg of milk solids, the third highest on record.

Improvements in conditions in the Southern Riverina and northern Victoria propelled an increase in milk intake by 3.9 per cent.

However the background for the year was one of falling commodity prices with strong competition from other exporting countries, including the US, European Union and New Zealand.

Mr Helou said the company had announced plans to open offices in Vietnam and in Dubai, to service the Middle East and North Africa, to complement offices already opened in Japan and China.

The company is planning investment of about $200million to provide leading edge cheese, UHT milk and butter spread manufacturing facilities in the current year.

Chair Philip Tracy said in his report the company needed to lead the industry back to a growth outlook, with more favourable economic and climatic conditions.

‘‘This will be achieved through cost leadership, innovation, and increasing our focus on key customers, particularly in Australia, Asia and the Middle East,’’ he said.

Mr Tracy said the company had instituted a major review of the equity and fairness of the milk payment system.

‘‘All co-operative members will benefit by getting the balance right,’’ he said.

Murray Goulburn had sales of $2.6billion for the last financial year and assets of $1.6billion.

The report discloses total non-executive director payments of $913000, compared to $1.04million the previous year. The base fee of $780000 was set in 2011.

The annual general meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 28.

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