THE Norco Co-operative Limited announced a $2.3 million profit at its annual general meeting in Coffs Harbour yesterday, which was a significant increase from its $1.1 million result in the previous year.
The diversified agricultural co-operative also announced it had retired $4.7 million worth of debt, bringing its total debt down to $24 million on total sales of $351.5 million for the year.
The dairy co-op will pay its members a 5 per cent dividend this year at a cost of $500,000, an increase on last year’s 3.5 per cent dividend.
Norco chairman Greg McNamara said the 115-year-old business was going well and milk supplies were up by about 5 per cent.
Farmer suppliers have been receiving an average 54¢ a litre for their milk over the last year.
“Norco is an Australian icon in my view,” Mr McNamara said.
“There is a lot of talk about foreign investment in Australia, but people are looking for our Norco milk and for the ice-cream we produce, which is a good thing. There are not too many Australian brands left.”
Forty members of the Norco co-op, including 36 active members, attended yesterday’s AGM at Opal Cove Resort.
Mr McNamara said over the past five years Norco had narrowed its product range to concentrate on core products and was doing a lot more work with customers such as Coles, which sells ice-cream made by Norco as its house brand.
Norco has 165 dairy farmer suppliers from Kilcoy in Queensland to Dungog in NSW.
Norco members also agreed to move to readjust the boundaries of the co-op’s three voting regions so that the number of directors elected from each better reflects the number of suppliers.