Warrnambool Cheese and Butter regains most of their lost supply

Posted by Isobel Drake on 6th August 2009

Victorian-based dairy processor Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory has seen the majority of their milk supply return after a mass exodus of over 100 farmers in April threatened to leave a substantial hole in their supplies.

The Chief Executive Officer of WCB, John McLean – who returned to the position he held for 32 years after the resignation of Neil Kearney in April – last week informed suppliers that, after losing in excess of 250 million litres of milk “virtually overnight” in April, more than 200 million litres had returned to the company in June, Stock & Land reported.

This was inclusive of about 100 million litres last week alone.

“That milk is still coming in quite rapidly and I am very confident that it will go back to a level that will exceed the most milk that we’ve ever brought into the company,” Mr McLean said. “We‘re anticipating manufacturing somewhere between 16,000-20,000 tonnes more product than what we were looking at a month ago.”

The stark turnaround in fortunes makes the turmoil of April seem a long time ago. At the time it seemed that the whole world was closing in on the company, with the announcement of a price cut met with disgust from suppliers and then a profit downgrade forcing the cancellation of a capital raising and the eventual resignation of their CEO and Chairman.

Over 100 farmers stopped supplying the company after the price cut, leading to a substantial gap in their supplies.

But the price reinstatement a week after it was introduced and the return of Mr McLean now seem to have appeased many of their stakeholders