Murray Goulburn underlined the higher price paid to dairy farmers

Murray Goulburn underlined the higher price paid to dairy farmers

Australian dairy co-op Murray Goulburn has posted a fall in underlying half-year profits, citing higher milk payments.

Underlying profit after tax for the six months to the end of December was A$47m (US$42.3m), compared to A$54m a year earlier.

The co-op highlighted a 31% increase in the weighted-average available farmgate milk price. Murray Goulburn said it had paid its dairy farmer suppliers A$225m more than the previous period.

The company said reported profit after tax grew 17.6% to A$61m.

MD Gary Helou said: "Global demand for dairy foods remains strong. Consequently prices for key dairy ingredients such as whole milk powder have stayed at near record levels for an unprecedented period and prices for cheese and butter have strengthened resulting in higher returns.

"Our continued focus on improving performance through reducing costs and investing to support innovation and value growth, has also contributed to the first half result and increasing farmgate returns."

Sales revenue increased 18.3% to A$1.34bn. Helou pointed to growth in international markets and added: "The continuing strength of demand in international markets is likely to underpin the continuation of robust dairy ingredients prices in the next two quarters."