Dairy giant Arla, which owns Cravendale and Anchor amongst other brands, has announced that all £252 million of its annual profit will be distributed to dairy farmers following last summer’s drought across Europe.
The co-operative normally pays a percentage of its profit to farmers, but its Chairman Jan Toft Norgaard has said that this year, they have an “exceptional opportunity” to help their colleagues without putting Arla at risk.
Arla has several sites across the UK, including bases in Devon, Leeds and Aylesbury and last year Arla Foods revealed plans to carry out significant investment at two sites in Yorkshire.
The business plans to invest £1.3 million at its site near Leeds, and part of this investment will be spent on upgrading milk production lines there. In recent years, Arla invested more than £5.5 million to improve the facilities at this site.
Arla also revealed plans to invest £300,000 on general upgrades at its site in Settle, which produces ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) milk for UK retailers. The business currently provides products for export to China, the Middle East and the Falklands.
The group is owned by 11,200 dairy farmers in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The UK is Arla’s largest market, and the group saw revenue top £2 billion here for the first time in 2018, rising by 3.3 per cent to hit £2.01 billion, compared with £1.94 billion the previous year. However, Arla also flagged “major challenges”, such as volatility in the global milk market and ongoing uncertainty brought about by Brexit.