About Kerry Co-Op
Kerry Co-Operative Creameries is an agricultural society that is the largest shareholder in Kerry Group PLC.
Kerry Co-Op represents the views and interests of all of its shareholders. It also works closely with Kerry Group on behalf of its milk supplying shareholders, striving to maintain a mutually beneficial working relationship. Kerry Co-Op is led by its elected board of directors. Board members are elected from the nine electoral areas across Kerry, Clare, Cork and Limerick.
History of Kerry Co-Operative
In November 1967, the ten North Kerry (and Limerick) co-operative societies had federated into an association by the name of North Kerry Co-operative Creameries, chaired by Eddie Hayes. This was not an amalgamation but operated together in matters of joint interest.
The co-operatives involved in this federation were Abbeydorney, Ballinclemessig, Fealesbridge, Lee Strand, Lixnaw, Newtownsandes, Brosna and Ratoo in County Kerry and Athea and Mountcollins in County Limerick.
The federation took a one third stake in a newly formed enterprise North Kerry Milk Products in partnership with the Dairy Disposal Company and FryCadbury (Ireland) Ltd.
A number of attempts were made to have a factory built in Listowel, but they ended in crushing disappointment. The farmers persevered and their entrepreneurial spirit was rewarded in 1970 when they teamed up with Erie Casein Company through meeting with a husband and-wife team of Bob and Sylvia (Reisenbigler) Siewert who eventually took a 15% stake in North Kerry Milk Products with Fry Cadbury withdrawing.
Despite internal disputes on the project, they held together put the finance in place, got planning permission and began construction of the factory in Listowel in 1972 and had already secured a market for their products through Erie Casein. All of this was done before a management team was appointed and it was an incredible achievement by the farmers involved in following their entrepreneurial instincts and putting in place an organisation which would form Kerry Co-Operative Creameries Ltd in 1973 who in turn would launch Kerry Group in 1986.
Kerry Co-op was formed on the 1st of January 1973 in Listowel, County Kerry as a private company (North Kerry Milk Products) with three shareholders – state-owned Dairy Disposal Company (42.5%), a federation of eight small farmer co-operatives in Kerry (42.5%) and Erie Casein Company Inc. from the US (15%).
The co-operative’s dairy processing business was transferred to Kerry Group in 1986 whereby the newly incorporated Kerry Group plc acquired the undertaking, property and assets of Kerry Co-operative Creameries and as a consideration 90 million ordinary shares in Kerry Group plc were issued to the Co-op. Today Kerry Co-operative Creameries Ltd remains the largest shareholder in Kerry Group.
Share Classes Explained
There are currently three different share classes in Kerry Co-operative Creameries ltd.
A Shares belong to shareholders that are actively supplying milk to Kerry.
B Shares belong to shareholders who have ceased to supply milk to Kerry. In this case, an A shareholder that ceases to supply milk to Kerry will be reclassified as a B shareholder after a period of 5 years.
C Shares belong to shareholders who have never supplied milk to Kerry. This would occur in instances of an inheritance of shares or commercial purchases.
Both A and B shareholders have a say in the running of Kerry Co-op through voting at shareholder meetings and by nominating and electing people to the advisory committee for their area.
In order for a shareholder to hold a seat at either Advisory or Board level they must be an A shareholder.