Milcobel posts 2021 results

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: Milcobel
Pic: Milcobel

Related tags Belgium Dairy

Belgium’s biggest dairy cooperative, Milcobel, has recorded a positive operating result in 2021.

In 2021, the Phoenix strategy, a company transformation, and the Compass savings plan, have resulted in a strong increase of the standard milk price of €15.50 ($17.22), or +57% compared to December 2020 (in comparison with an increase in the Belgian market of +37% according to BCZ), a cooperative refund of €0.90 ($1.00) per 100 liters of milk delivered and a proposal for dividend distribution of 4% that will be submitted to the general assembly.

Milcobel said its standard milk price is again competitive at the Belgian and European levels. With its Phoenix strategy, Milcobel said it is aiming for an above-average milk price, and the 2021 results inspire confidence this will be achieved more quickly than planned.

Despite challenges such as Covid, rising inflation and a turbulent milk supply market in Belgium, Milcobel had a turnover of €1.14bn ($1.27bn) and a consolidated net profit of €10.7m ($11.9m) in 2021, on top of the higher milk price and cooperative contribution it pays to its member dairy farmers. The net profit is harnessed to strengthen shareholders' equity. Solvency increased from 25.5% in 2020 to 28% in 2021. In 2021, net debt decreased by €40m ($44.5m) on top of the already realized decrease of €26m ($28.9m) in 2020.

The 7.7% turnover decrease compared to 2020 reflects the discontinuation of the negatively valorized milk production activity at Schoten, the effect of bad weather on the volume of ice cream sold and the lower milk supply. All business units achieved greatly improved profitability. The €40m turnover realized by cheese grater specialist Kaasbrik, acquired at the end of June 2021, is only half consolidated in the result.

Additionally, the organization's Compass savings plan, which envisions a €50m ($55.6m) reduction by 2025, is ahead of schedule. In 2021 alone, the plan produced savings of €41m ($45.6m), more than double the ambition for the first year.

The strategic shift in product mix towards products with more added value and a higher valorization resulted in a volume growth in added value products of 10%.

In the context of maximum valorization, Milcobel is focusing on innovation throughout all its business units.

Innovations in Consumer Products & Services capitalize on the trend of increased home consumption of cheese at all times of the day, and the increasing demand for sustainably produced products. New to the market were the Brugge grater, the CO2 neutral Brugge Cheese, e-free cheese, and recyclable and recycled packaging. Milcobel also launched a new brand, Eigen Bodem Kaas (Homegrown Cheese), further contributing to an increased growth of the percentage of Belgian Cheese consumed.

The acquisition of cheese grater specialist Kaasbrik added value for dairy premium ingredients and strengthened Milcobel's position in the mozzarella ingredients cheese business. In doing so, Milcobel said it has built up a solid position in the Asian market.

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