Australia’s Dairy Farmers Co-operative has posted a disastrous 97% plummet in full year profit after tax and outside equity interests to A$773,000 (US$385,310), caused by the deregulation of the dairy industry and spiralling milk prices.

In the same year period, to 30 June 2001, sales also dropped to A$1.2bn from A$1.3bn.

Managing director Alan Tooth was far from disheartened however, and told The Mercury (Tasmania) that he was confident the company would improve its earnings this year. Within the next three years, he said, the group will move towards sustainable profit growth.

“We are not proud of our numbers at all [but] we are looking forward to a substantial improvement in profit,” he said.

Tooth added that the Dairy Farmers’ four-year, A$90m cost cutting programme would continue trying to improve earnings.