Murray Goulburn confident about prospects

Murray Goulburn confident about prospects

Australian dairy co-op Murray Goulburn has booked flat underlying annual profits as lower dairy ingredient prices and the high Australian dollar weighed on the results.

Murray Goulburn reported underlying profit after tax of A$37.8m for the year to the end of June, up 0.4% on the year.

Reported profit after tax more than doubled from A$14.5m to A$34.9m, although Murray Goulburn's earnings in its last financial year were hit by restructuring costs.

Sales revenue inched up 1%. The company said "value-added products" helped offset lower dairy commodity prices and the impact of foreign exchange.

"MG delivered a solid performance in 2012/13 despite tough seasonal conditions, lower dairy ingredients prices and a high Australian dollar – all factors which were beyond our control," MD Gary Helou said.

Helou insisted the co-op had achieved "a number of strategic milestones" during the year, including new offices in Dubai, the Vietnamese capital of Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.

He added: "Australian dairy is well placed to capitalise on the enormous growth opportunities that lie on our doorstep and as the largest Australian-owned food business, MG is uniquely placed to lead the Australian dairy industry back to profitable growth."

Murray Goulburn owns a 17% stake in another Australian dairy company, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, which is the subject of a takeover bid from a third firm in the sector, Bega Cheese.

Analysts believe a rival offer from Murray Goulburn is unlikely, although the company has so far made no comment.

Click here for our analysis into Bega's offer for WCB.