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DMK Group: On the right track - even with setbacks
Bremen, 20 June 2024. 2023 was a year of extremes for the DMK Group. Market distortions combined with negative one-off effects led to an unsatisfactory annual result. As a result, the average milk price for the year was too low compared to the competition. Despite these challenges, the DMK Group is nevertheless in a solid position in terms of its overall balance sheet. It is now important to learn from the challenges of the past year and to clearly continue the path forward in the current year in order to catch up with the successful years prior to 2023.

The reasons for the lower-than-expected result in 2023 are diverse: extreme market distortions on the one hand have led to enormous devaluations of stocks, especially for cheese. In addition, less volume was called up in the white and yellow product lines due to restrained demand, which then had to be channeled into lower-quality processing such as powder. In addition, the company had to cope with higher energy costs due to necessary long-term contracts. ‘You grow with challenges and can learn a lot from them - as painful as that sometimes is. This is exactly what we are doing, and we have already started to analyse our performance and implemented countermeasures in the exceptional year of 2023. These measures are already having an effect. Since then, we have recorded continuously rising milk prices and we are working towards our 2024 annual target of paying a competitive milk price,’ says Ingo Müller, CEO of the DMK Group. A look at the key figures for the past financial year reflects this: the main target for 2023 was not achieved. DMK was able to pay its farmers an annual average of 41.1 cents. A high level in a multi-year comparison - but below average compared to the competition in 2023. At 13.2 million euros, earnings were also down on the previous year. Last year, turnover totaled 5.5 billion euros, which was on a par with the previous year. In view of the turbulence mentioned, this is at least a satisfactory result. A look at the balance sheet shows that DMK is in a rock-solid position. The equity ratio rose from 31.3% to 34.7% in 2023.

A look at 2024
Following the highly volatile developments, the milk market is back in calmer waters. Developments in supply and demand have normalised. Compared to previous years, a more stable price level is on the horizon for 2024. This development is positive for the remainder of the year, even if the past few years have shown that there is no longer any general certainty. Strategy 2030: Products with higher added value are to be strengthened and expanded, while those with lower returns are to be reduced. ‘In order to consistently pursue the strategic path we have chosen, we sometimes have to make decisions that are unpopular at first glance. This includes the decision to reduce capacity at four DMK sites by the beginning of 2025. As painful as this decision is, it is important and right in order to position us for the future and to strengthen all other sites,’ says Ingo Müller.

The DNA of DMK
With the launch of "Strategy 2030" in 2019, the DMK Group has been undergoing an enormous transformation process that affects all areas of the company. ‘Compared to 'before', DMK now has a face, a clear DNA,’ says Müller. This is "a real asset" in view of the many issues and challenges these days. In four out of five years, the company has been very successful in realising its goals. After 2023 represented a negative swing in the positive series, DMK now wants to build on the previous years. Now more than ever, the company is driving forward a large number of important topics - whether it is the commitment to greater sustainability and climate protection (keywords: ‘Net Zero Farms’ / ‘conversion of the fleet to organic LNG’) or the expansion of value-adding product ranges, such as the strengthening of its growing Milram brand.