Co Sligo-based co-op Aurivo has reported higher revenues and profits for the year to the end of December as a strong performance was seen in tandem with a strong milk price paid to suppliers.

Aurivo said its revenues for 2021 rose by 16.7% to €570.3m, up from €488.7m in 2020.

The co-op's operating profit (before exceptionals) increased by 48.6% to €12.6m, up from €8.5m the previous year while group EBITDA increased by 28.2% to €19.4m.

Aurivo said the average milk price for 2021 was 40.9 cent per litre compared to 35.61 cent per litre in 2020, while 39 new entrants joined the Co-Op during the year.

The Co-Op said its consumer milk and butter brands performed strongly during the year.

Connacht Gold butter retained its position as the second most consumed and popular butter brand in Ireland.

It noted that the For Goodness Shakes brand, which suffered a significant loss of volume in 2020 due to reduced footfall in large cities throughout the UK, has now fully recovered.

Volumes are now running higher than pre-Covid levels, it added.

"Building on the progress gained in 2020, Aurivo succeeded in 2021 in delivering a record year for the co-op in terms of milk volume handled, increased sales across all facets of our business, improving our profitability while continuing to invest for the future sustainable growth of Aurivo," said Donal Tierney, chief executive of Aurivo.

"These results demonstrate the strength and relevance of our brands, our agile response to shifts in consumer demand and the extraordinary efforts of our committed employees and suppliers. These attributes helped position us to manage through the volatility and disruption caused by Covid-19 and emerge an even stronger business," Mr Tierney said.

He also said it was "gratifying" to note that the results for 2021 were achieved in tandem with a strong milk price paid to its suppliers across the year.

Mr Tierney said that despite many positive elements that have carried over into 2022, such as the ending of pandemic restrictions and strong global dairy and food service demand, the dramatic and ongoing rise in input and operational costs for both our suppliers and the co-op (exacerbated by war in Ukraine) will pose significant challenges for the business in 2022.

"Our approach over the coming year will be one of prudence to secure business continuity and future sustainable growth," he added.