Arrabawn Co-Op saw record revenues for 2021 after a 20% increase in turnover for the year, its annual report shows today.

The annual report was outlined at the company's AGM today in Nenagh in Co Tipperary today - the first "in-person" Arrabawn AGM since 2019 due to the Covid pandemic.

The co-op has about 1,000 suppliers and last year processed about 500 million litres of milk, up 11% from 2020.

Arrabawn said that after achieving peak revenues in 2020 despite a hugely challenging year, all key metrics improved again last year.

Its turnover rose by 20% to reach €340m while gross profit was up by 23% to €77m.

Earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were up €2.2m to €12.5m, while operating profits before exceptional items were at €4.1m, a €1.4m increase on 2020.

The co-op said its strong performance last year also saw its net debt reduce by €8.8m to €33.6m.

The milk price paid to suppliers across the year rose to to 40.07 cent per litre., up 5.70 cent per litre on 2020 prices.

Arrabawn said its overall performance was significantly underpinned by growth at the co-op's ingredients operations at Nenagh, with the facility completing its first full year of processing following a major investment programme in its casein and effluent plant.

This resulted in a €66.8m increase in turnover.

Agri-trading also saw a strong year, with customer spend up across hardware, agri and household sales.

Feed and fertiliser sales saw increases and the year also saw continued investment at a number of stores.

But Arrabawn said the Irish liquid milk market continues to be difficult and this was reflected in a challenging year for the dairies division.

CEO Conor Ryan said last year was a strong year for Arrabawn and very much validated its €30m investment programme at its Nenagh headquarters.

"This delivered significant additional capacity for us, with room to handle further growth in volumes in the years ahead. This has been a very prudent and timely investment that has future proofed the business and our suppliers' activities," Mr Ryan said.

"To have recorded the highest ever turnover in the history of the co-op and the highest ever EBITDA figure underlines the success of our investment strategy over the past three years or so and, critically also, has brought about a significant reduction in our debt levels and further strengthens our balance sheet," he added.

Arrabawn Chairman Edward Carr said that while the pandemic continued to be a topic of concern during 2021, the co-op managed the impact very well.

"Dairy markets continued to strengthen as the year progressed and the society ended 2020 paying an average milk price of 40.07 cent per litre. This was very welcome at farm level as production costs were on the increase during the year but, with favourable weather conditions and good grass growth, it was a successful year for dairying," Mr Carr noted.

Mr Carr said that the biggest challenge facing dairy farmers remains meeting environmental targets.

He said that since the abolition of quotas in 2015, the Irish Agri Food sector has seen phenomenal growth, particularly in dairying.

"This has delivered a significant boost across rural Ireland from the spin-off of this expansion. As farmers and members of the dairy industry we all enjoyed being part of this evolution. However, going forward, the sustainability of our industry needs to be protected," he added.