LONGUEUIL, QC, Feb. 8, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Once again this year, growth was on the agenda for Agropur as it posted the best performance in its history. The Cooperative generated sales of more than $3.6 billion for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2011, with 25.9% of these sales originating from operations outside of Canada. Earnings before patronage dividends amounted to $164.8 million.
Agropur also continued its expansion in the United States with the December 2010 acquisition of Main Street Ingredients, a La Crosse, Wisconsin company that specializes in dairy ingredients. With this new acquisition, the Cooperative now has a solid asset base that will enable it to take advantage of the growth of the American and export markets.
According to Pierre Claprood, Agropur's Chief Executive Officer: "Total sales in our cheese divisions grew by 17% in 2011, with 36.3% of sales coming from the United States. This increase is mainly due to contributions from the Main Street Ingredients and Hull (Iowa) plants, as well as the increase in dairy product prices in 2011, particularly in the United States."
Over the last year, Agropur maintained its focus on innovation with the introduction of new products, such as Rondoux washed-rind cheeses, the addition of Rivière Rouge and Seigneurie du lac des Deux-Montagnes cheeses to the Agropur Signature line, the Champfleury, Oka and Brie fine cream cheeses, the Natrel lactose-free creams, and two new Natrel chocolate milks (dark chocolate and milk chocolate), among others.
Agropur is a significant player in a rapidly growing cooperative movement. With 2012 being proclaimed as the International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations, this promises to be a banner year for cooperatives around the world. It represents an opportunity to celebrate the contribution that cooperatives make to sustainable development, the elimination of poverty, job creation, social integration and the establishment of means of livelihood in a variety of economic sectors in both rural and urban environments.
Serge Riendeau, Chairman of Agropur, stated: "Agropur is proud of its roots and its cooperative model, which favours well-anchored principles and values along with a vision for long-term development. This year will be very special for cooperatives around the world, and we are pleased to be taking part in the International Summit of Cooperatives in October 2012 as a major sponsor."
After more than 30 years of good and loyal service, including 8 years as Chief Executive Officer, Pierre Claprood will be retiring at the end of February 2012. "I would like to thank Mr. Claprood, who leaves us with an organization that is positioned to continue its growth. His contribution to the Cooperative has been immeasurable, thanks to his incredible dedication and his excellent professional competence, and we can all be proud of what he has accomplished," said Mr. Riendeau.
Founded in 1938, Agropur is a leader in the Canadian dairy industry. With sales of $3.6 billion, the Cooperative is a source of pride for its 3,349 dairy producer members and 5,700 employees. Agropur processes more than 3 billion litres of milk per year in its 27 plants across Canada, the United States and Argentina. It markets an impressive line of products, including such well-known brands as Natrel, Québon, Oka, Sealtest and Island Farms.
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