AI Services’ annual general meeting (AGM), held earlier this week, included a report on a review of the company’s share register, including a free share issue for commercial members.
The company, which was established 34 years ago when the Ministry of Agriculture withdrew from providing artificial insemination services to breeders in the province, is owned by farmers and farmer-owned organizations .
According to Robin Irvine, the current chairman of the board, the reduction in the number of dairy herds since the company was founded and the growing age profile of farmers means that many of the original shareholders are no longer in activity.
Following a circulation of non-trading members, the company offered to repay the original share capital and accrued dividends. This produced a good response and the shares that were repurchased have now been distributed among shareholders who are actively trading with the company.
Directors of Ai Services have confirmed that the company’s share register will remain open and that business owners can apply for membership by purchasing shares of the company.
All members are allocated the same number of shares, each worth £1 and their value neither increases nor decreases, nor can they be traded on the open market.
If a member ceases to trade, they may be redeemed at face value by the Company or transferred to a new herd owner with Company approval.
Trading members will receive an annual dividend on shares held and will also receive a trading discount based on their purchases from the company.
Shareholders at the AGM learned that AI Services had had another very successful year in its core AI business in Northern Ireland, alongside providing support services to CAFRE and controlling its stake in the Eurogene activity in the Republic of Ireland, making significant substantive contributions. line.
Reporting on financial performance, Dr. Sam Campbell, CEO, said the company’s balance sheet was very strong and profitability continued the steady growth of recent years.
The strategy of splitting the overheads of the group across three separate business activities has proven successful, with the core business of animal husbandry and the provision of rural development and knowledge transfer programs in Northern Ireland providing significant contributions.
Eurogene continues to perform very well in the South of Ireland and recorded significant growth in turnover and profitability during the year.
Plans are well advanced for a major investment in AI Services’ headquarters in Ballycraigy, County Antrim. The existing bull pens will be replaced by a new, modern stud farm.
Investments have also been made in Eurogene with the purchase of premises in Cahir, Co Tipperary and in the continued development of the Irish young bull program based on contract mating to produce the elite dairy bulls of the future.
“With the dairy cow population on the island of Ireland now surpassing that of Great Britain, AI Services is well placed to meet the growing demand for quality genetics and new breeding technologies,” explained Sam. Campbell.
Referring to his planned retirement from the company later this year, Dr Campbell said this would be his last report to an annual general meeting and he thanked the chairmen, directors and colleagues for their friendship and support.
“AI Services has been my job, my hobby and my family for over 22 years and I wish the company every success in the years to come,” said Sam.
Robin Irvine concluded the meeting with a warm tribute to the company’s CEO.
He commented: “Sam’s contribution to the development of this company over the past two decades has been immense.
“He led the company into new areas of business with the introduction of the Farm Facilitators Network offering benchmarking services, Farm Business Development Groups and educational programs on behalf of CAFRE.”
Robin concluded: “The development of Eurogene into the leading supplier of dairy genetics in the South of Ireland has been a remarkable achievement based on hard work and commitment.
“The Board of Directors greatly appreciates Sam’s vision and contribution to the business over the past two decades and we now look to the future, with a recruitment process underway to appoint a successor to take the company forward. business after Sam’s retirement.”