UK dairy co-operative First Milk has posted a half-year pre-tax profit after booking a GBP9m (US$14.5m) loss last year following a flawed strategy on milk prices.

First Milk, which said the first-half results published today (3 November) was the first time it had produced half-year figures, booked pre-tax profits of GBP3.2m for the six months to the end of September. Turnover was up 9.4% at GBP280m.

Chairman Bill Mustoe said First Milk’s first-half performance last year was “poor” and pointed to its policy on milk prices.

“The results in the first six months of last year were poor, mainly as a result of paying out a milk price that was ahead of market returns, a tactic we no longer pursue,” Mustoe said.

However, Mustoe said the latest figures showed First Milk’s “continuing momentum”. He said: “We have made good progress on getting the fundamentals of the business right and have been able to deliver a GBP11.8m improvement in operating cash flow, a GBP12.2m improvement in pre-tax profits, and a reduction in our net bank debt by GBP32m.”

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