• Cheese maker Glanbia posts losses in wake of meat division sell-off

KILKENNY, Ireland -- Glanbia, a Kilkenny, Ireland-based dairy food producer, has reported a €40 million (U.S. $39.3 million) loss for the first half of 2002, following a €75 million (U.S. $73.7 million) restructuring charge tied to the closure of its U.K. consumer meats division.

According to the Financial Times, the group incurred an exceptional loss of €64 million (U.S. $62.8 million), €38 million (U.S. $37.3 million) of which relates to a write-back of goodwill previously written off against reserves.

The group's underlying profits before exceptional items and tax increased by 8.9 percent to €35.6 million (U.S. $35 million), while operating profits remained unchanged at €45 million (U.S. $44.2 million) on slightly decreased turnover of €1.28 billion (U.S. $1.26 billion).

Glanbia, the largest producer of pizza cheese in Europe, closed its U.K. cooked-meats business in June after sales slumped during the first six months of the year. It sold its distribution business there as well. Glanbia still employs more than 5,500 people at a number of sites in Ireland, the U.K., Belgium and the U.S.

In addition to its restructuring costs, Glanbia, like dairy producers worldwide, has battled price volatility throughout 2002, but believes the restructuring has positioned it for growth.

"Glanbia is continuing to make progress, despite difficult international dairy markets from which no immediate recovery is envisaged," said Tom Corcoran, chairman. "Overall, as markets stand, Glanbia expects to achieve a satisfactory full-year performance."

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