Dublin-based Ornua, formerly the Irish Dairy Board, last month reported sales of nearly €2.34bn for the year ended December 31 2014 – up 10% from €2.124bn in 2013.
Jeanne Kelly, head of corporate communications, Ornua, told DairyReporter.com it expects to add more than €600m to this figure in the next five years.
“It’s ambitious yet achievable,” she said. “We've put in all the investment, now we’re looking to grow the business.”
“We've been operating in a quota environment and that has obviously been holding the business back. We've also been making significant investments in recent years, so we have the markets for the additional output.”
The European Union (EU) milk quota system, introduced as a temporary measure in 1984 to address the over production of milk, expired on March 31.
Milk production in Ireland is subsequently forecast to increase by 50% by 2020.
Ornua collected an additional 41,000 tonnes of milk from its supplier owners in 2013 and expects "further increases."
"We're confident that figure will be growing," said Kelly.
"For us it's a signal of the confidence our members have in us that we're developing the market for them."
"We want our product going into high value dairy markets. If our product goes into commodity, we've failed," she said.
Kerrygold "absolutely flying"
Ornua's Kerrygold brand will be key to this strategy, said Kelly.
Kerrygold currently controls a 60% share of the German butter market, and the brand "has been absolutely flying" in the US.
Ornua shipped 8,500 tonnes of Kerrygold butter to the US in 2013, and 10,000 tonnes in 2014. By 2017, Ornua expects to be shipping 20,000 tonnes.
"We're the number one imported butter brand in the US. We're hoping it's going to be our next Germany," she said.
With Kerrygold going from strength to strength, Ornua has leveraged the brand to enter new categories.
In Germany, it recently introduced Kerrygold cheese, and in November 2014 it launched Kerrygold UHT whole milk in China.
Around the same time, it launched Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur - a blend of Irish cream, Irish whiskey and chocolate - in the US. Ornua "will be looking at rolling it out internationally," said Kelly.
"Wasn't who the business had become"
Ornua completed its post-quota preparations, which involved a series of significant processing investments, on March 31 when it officially adopted its new corporate identity.
Between 1994 and March 31 2015, it operated as the Irish Dairy Board (IDB), but opted for a new identity "fit for a very bright future."
Ornua is derived from Ór Nua, which means 'New Gold' in Irish (Gaelige).
Kelly said it became apparent during the cooperative's post-quota preparations that its old identity "wasn't who the business had become."
"The time felt right to change the name," said Kelly. "It's been very well received."