Challenging conditions in the global dairy sector were again confirmed when both First Milk and DMK reported lower earnings. European meat firm Vion, however, insisted that its results were "improved" on 2014 despite racking up losses in the period. Here are the results in brief for this week.

Vion claims "improved results" in 2014 despite loss

Dutch food group Vion this week reported its numbers for 2014 and claimed "improved results" despite booking losses of EUR21m (US$23.7m).

The loss compared to net earnings of EUR516m in 2013, a year when its bottom line was boosted by sales to the tune of EUR781m.

Vion posted normalised EBITDA of EUR60m, down from EUR196m a in 2013. However, it said the figure rose from EUR22m to EUR58m in 2014 when looking only at its continuing operations.

The disposal of its ingredients arm meant net turnover fell from EUR7bn in 2013 to EUR5bn in 2014.

Interim CEO Tom Heidman said: "After the sale of Vion Ingredients, 2014 was all about re-positioning and integrating our activities, our ambition being to improve our profitability. Thanks to the improved results, the operational changes which were implemented, adjustments to the footprint and a robust financial position, we have a sound foundation for the future."

Profits down at German dairy giant DMK

Dr Josef Schwaiger, the CEO of German dairy processor DMK, this week claimed the company is "on a very sound footing economically" and "well positioned for future market fluctuations and further investments" despite seeing profits fall in 2014.

DMK booked net profit of EUR42.3m, down from EUR51.7m in 2013. Sales edged up from EUR5.31bn to EUR5.32bn but higher raw material and salary costs weighed on profits.

The share of export sales in DMK's revenues dipped from over 44% in 2013 to 40%. The company pledged to look to "further increase" its revenues from outside Germany. "A survey of our dairy farmers revealed that we can reckon with a regional annual increase of up to four percent in milk volumes," Dr Schwaiger said. "Since we have guaranteed to go on taking all the milk our farmers have to offer in the future, the year under review saw us preparing to process and market larger volumes profitably in the future: we drove forward internationalisation in global growth markets, invested in modern production systems and continued to develop our portfolio towards highly profitable products that are in line with customer needs."

Synutra sees jump in FY sales, net profit

Nutritional products maker Synutra has reported an increase in net profit and sales for the full year of 2015.

Net income rose to US$72.0m compaterd with $30.3m a year earlier. Operating income also increased to $73.7m from $41.6m. Sales were up 11.7% to $413.9m.

Chairman and CEO of Synutra, Liang Zhang, said profits were helped by an increased focus on operational efficiency during the year and "tight control over discounts" during the fourth quarter.

Click here for the full results

First Milk confirms loss as turnaround effort continues

UK dairy cooperative First Milk confirmed that its losses for fiscal to end-March will be in the region of GBP22m.

The news follows the recent appointment of CEO Mike Gallacjer, who has embarked on a turnaround programme and full strategic review. Efforts have included reorganising its business structure, cost reduction and the establishment of new milk pools.

Chief executive Mike Gallacher commented: "The year to 31 March 2015 was clearly an extremely difficult one for First Milk. The 2014 losses we are announcing today reflect the market context, but also poor operational performance that impacted at the same time as the business paid out higher milk prices to our farmers in 2014 than was received in commercial returns."