The cooperative tops $7 billion in consolidated sales
Fiscal year 2018-2019 confirms the wisdom of the growth strategy adopted by Sollio Cooperative Group (formerly La Coop federee) a few years ago, with a record $7.282 billion in consolidated sales in 2019, up $766 million from the previous year.
Earnings before patronage refunds and income taxes were $79.4 million, while equity and preferred shares totalled $1.8 billion and assets were up to $3.9 billion. Earnings were lower than in previous years, however, due to a particularly difficult business context stemming notably from the global geopolitical and trade tensions that marked 2019.
The Agribusiness Division, Sollio Agriculture, had a good year, with earnings attributable to members of $36.4 million, up $3 million over the previous year.
The Retail Division (BMR Group), for its part, reported earnings before income taxes attributable to members, not including corporate expenses, of $16.7 million, compared with $16.9 million last year, a slight decrease of $200,000.
Tighter controls and more advantageous trade agreements helped improve the margin, but earnings were offset by an increase in some operating expenses, including transportation costs, as a result of the labour shortage, as well as storage costs, due to a need for additional space.
Lastly, the results of the Meat Division (Olymel) were affected by a few significant events, including the Chinese embargo on Canadian meat imports, which had a negative impact on results, especially in the fresh pork sector. Its earnings before income taxes attributable to members stood at $67.1 million, compared with $167.9 million in 2018, a decrease of $100.8 million.
In recent months, the organization acquired a number of businesses in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada and entered into new partnership agreements. A highlight is the acquisition of the assets of F. Menard, a leader in the Quebec pork sector that produces over 1 million hogs per year and employs 1,200 people.
La Coop federee also announced it is formally becoming Sollio Cooperative Group.