A number of local Glanbia agri-business branches are set to close as part of an ongoing rationalisation programme.

Facing closure over the next few months are South Kilkenny operations Carrigeen and Mullinavat, as well as Grange in Co Waterford. Loughcullen and Muckalee are also to close. In all, 11 one-man branches are facing the axe around the country, resulting in about 10 redundancies and some redeployment within the group.

However a CountryLife retail outlet flanked by a 4,000 sq ft garden centre and 8,000 sq ft of warehousing is to open in Castlecomer in the autumn, while Glanbia have broadened the range and extended the opening hours of stores in Gaultier, Kilmeaden and Dungarvan.

Colm Eustace, Chief Executive, Glanbia Agribusiness, said the changes were necessary due to the changing nature of agriculture, particularly given that more farmers are buying inputs directly from factory in recent years.

“Ongoing reorganisation is essential if we are to remain competitive as a business. Our farmer customers are continuing to address their costs and in order for us to remain relevant to them and to offer competitive pricing, we must drive down our cost base too. Our products now primarily move direct from factory to farm. This method of servicing our customer is more cost efficient but it reduces the need for an extensive branch network.”

Mr Eustace added: “We recognise that the branches are part of the legacy of the Group and have made a strong contribution locally. We are also very mindful of our committed management, staff and our loyal customers who have supported the branches over the years and are working closely with all those impacted.

“The vast majority of our customers dealing with impacted branches will be serviced by a dedicated Business Manager who will deal on farm with their needs going forward. Otherwise customers will have the option of calling to one of the remaining branches where we can guarantee a relevant service and product range.

“The main objective of this rationalisation programme is to remain competitive and therefore relevant to our customer base. We will continue to strive to add value to this customer base through offering a range of products as well as technical and nutritional guidance that will add value to our customers’ business,” he said.