ONE of the key players in the Cumbrian dairy industry, First Milk, has delivered strong financial results for the year ending March 31 2020.

The dairy giant in its Annual Report and Accounts show that the co-operative continues to deliver progress across the key financial areas of turnover and profit, while also increasing capital investment and member returns.

Key highlights include: Group turnover up six percent to £299.5m (2020: £282.8m); Operating profit up 8% to £8.1m (2020: £7.5m); Net profit up 24 percent to £5.6m (2020: £4.5m); Capital investment of £7.8m in the year (2020: £5.3m); Net bank borrowings stable at £33m (2020: £33.1m); Member Premium increased to 0.5ppl (2020: 0.25ppl); Announced commitment to Net Zero 2040 and launched a leading regenerative agriculture programme; 93 percent of members signed First4Milk Pledge

Chief Executive, Shelagh Hancock, said: “In what was an extraordinary year, we were able to rapidly adapt and respond positively to the challenges we faced and continued to make good progress throughout the year. As a result, I am pleased to report increased turnover and operating profits, significantly increased capital investment at our sites, and continued progress in generating value for our members.

“We have also committed to our largest capital investment programme to date for the year ahead, which will see us invest £14.4m in our sites to further improve operational capability. Overall, we have delivered promising progress and our vision remains clear – together, we will deliver dairy prosperity.”

First Milk are the owners of the Lake District Creamery at Aspatria, and have over 250 Cumbrian producer members, as well as supplying Dalston-based Nestle