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Glanbia MilkFlex Fund Wins European Award for Co-operative Innovation

GII All Co-op Dairy

The Glanbia MilkFlex Fund received a major Award at the 2017 European Awards for Co-operative Innovation, presented by COGECA, the Association of European Agri Co-operatives, in Brussels this week.

The COGECA Business Model Innovation Award was presented to Glanbia for introducing the Glanbia MilkFlex Fund which offers flexible, competitively priced loans to Glanbia milk suppliers with loan repayments which vary according to seasonality and movements in milk price.

The purpose of the Glanbia MilkFlex Fund is to provide Glanbia milk suppliers in the Republic of Ireland with an innovative funding product to support investment in on-farm productive assets (including livestock, milking platform infrastructure and land improvement).

Commenting on the Award, Henry Corbally, Chairman of Glanbia said: “We are delighted to receive this Award and with the overall positive response to the Glanbia MilkFlex Fund since it was launched. The purpose of the Fund is to provide our milk suppliers with innovative funding that helps protect farm incomes from the impact of dairy market volatility. Since its launch in March 2016, the Fund has encouraged renewed debate on the development of innovative funding products for farmers which is positive for the overall sector and to be welcomed.”

Since its arrival on the market in May 2016, the Fund has received more than €90 million in loan applications. The average value of MilkFlex loans drawn from the Fund is €100,000 to date.

A key feature of this innovative loan product is that it has inbuilt ‘flex triggers’ that adjust the repayment terms in line with movements in Glanbia Ireland’s (GI) manufacturing milk price and seasonality, thereby providing farmers with cash flow relief when most needed.

Rabobank, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, Finance Ireland and Glanbia Co-Operative Society are co-investors in the Fund while Finance Ireland originate the loans and manage all aspects of the Fund. The interest rate charged on the loans is a variable rate of 3.75% above the monthly Euribor cost of funds (with a Euribor floor of zero).

Receiving the Award, Sean Molloy, Director of Strategy & Supply Development at Glanbia Ireland said: “We are very pleased to receive this award and wish to highlight the support of our partners - the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, Rabobank and Finance Ireland - in bringing the Glanbia MilkFlex Fund to market. It is a valuable tool in assisting dairy farmers to manage income volatility, which is particularly challenging for family farms everywhere.”

Commenting on the awards, Cogeca President Thomas Magnusson said “These Awards aim to promote practices and innovative solutions designed by co-operatives. Since 2009, Cogeca - the voice of European agri co-operatives - recognizes and celebrates the outstanding innovation practices of European agri co-operatives. I am very pleased with the quality of the projects submitted this year. Agri co-operatives make sure that innovative solutions are workable at farm level as they take into consideration all aspects of the project from the technical, social, environmental and economic aspects of it.”

Other winners at the 2017 European Awards for Co-operative Innovation included: the Award for innovation in the food processing sector which went to the Finnish meat cooperative LS0 Osuuskunta for the launch of its Omega-3 pork project; the Award for Innovation in Governance and Member Services which went to the Italian dairy, arable and forestry cooperative AgriAmbiente Mugello Societa’ Cooperativa; and the Award for Innovative use of ICT and digitalization which went to the Finnish Forestry Cooperative Metsaliitto for creating an on-line e-Business service for its members to sell wood to the Metsa Group and to buy forest management services.

For more details on the 2017 European Awards for Co-operative Innovation, see www.copa-cogeca.eu

First Published 30 November 2017

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