The Denmark Co-op will this year pay income tax for the first time since 2001, and by April next year should be free from long-term debt for the first time in almost 20 years.
That is the good news in the company’s 2019 annual report, to be presented to shareholders at its AGM on September 23.
The result, in the co-op’s 99th year of operation, will open the door to ways of distributing additional financial value to members in the future.
The company has been burdened by debt since about 2000, when a land purchase for a proposed supermarket backfired.
“It is exciting that we are on the cusp of a new phase in our corporate life, at the same time making plans for our centenary next year,” board chairman Tony Wilson said.
“Our heartfelt thanks go to the fantastic team of management and staff for turning the Co-op into the robust business that it now is.”
Sales grew by 7.1 percent and gross profit by 1.6 percent – though additional costs led to pre-tax profit being slightly less than last year’s record $202,000.
The Co-op’s membership grew by 77 during the year to 993, who received a total of $60,000 in discounts and credits.
Mr Wilson said that proactive on-farm sales and marketing by the rural and hardware department saw its sales grow by nine percent.