Billions in sales: cooperatives in Upper Austria defy the crisis

Billions in sales: cooperatives in Upper Austria defy the crisis
The Raiffeisen sector stands for regional added value based on agriculture: warehouse, bank, dairy
Image: VOLKER Weihbold

Norman Eichinger and Walter Lederhilger from the Raiffeisen Association
Image: Raiffeisen

The more than 250 Upper Austrian Raiffeisen cooperatives – from the warehouse to the bank and the dairy – “are quite satisfied with the 2022 financial year despite enormous uncertainties,” says Norman Eichinger, Association Director of the Upper Austrian Raiffeisen Association on the occasion of today’s Upper Austria. State Cooperative Days in the Linz Design Center. Traditionally, more than 400 representatives of the cooperatives come together here.

They represent more than 350,000 Upper Austrians who own the cooperatives. All decisions are therefore made in the region, profits and the entire value chain remain in the country. The 70 Raiffeisen banks with total assets of 31.5 billion euros (after 30 billion in 2021) keep the “financial bloodstream” going. The result (EGT) fell to around 230 million euros, “because of the very conservative and careful accounting of securities”, which Raiffeisen always rounds off to the market value.

Norman Eichinger and Walter Lederhilger from the Raiffeisen Association
Image: Raiffeisen

As usual, customers’ initial deposits rose by almost five percent to EUR 25.6 billion. At the same time, the volume of loans granted increased sharply by nine percent to 23.3 billion euros – across all areas, from private house construction to community and real estate financing and of course the very own business: financing agricultural investments.

the ooh Warehouses with 117 branches and almost 2000 employees achieved more than one billion euros in operating output for the first time in the past financial year and “expect a very satisfactory result in 2022” despite the many market turmoil.

The dairies recorded an increase in operating output of almost 24 percent to 1.44 billion euros. Thousands of farmers were able to offset their cost increases with higher milk prices.

Perhaps surprising in view of the energy transition is the stagnating number of biomass cooperatives that supply thousands of customers with space heating and save 31 million liters of heating oil every year and write profits. The reason is that new biomass plants are only managed as a cost center for the “Bioenergie OÖ eGen” cooperative. There are currently 22 cooperative heating plants in Upper Austria, two more will be put into operation in 2023, according to Eichinger.

A new cooperative was founded for the first time in the care sector: the hospitals of the Elisabethines in Linz, the Sisters of Mercy in Ried and the Franciscan Sisters in Vöcklabruck founded a cooperative to support caregivers at home.

New cooperatives

The legal form of the cooperative is finding more resonance with people again. In 2022 the first renewable energy communities were founded as cooperatives. Numerous projects are in the planning stage. Student cooperatives have been set up at three schools in Upper Austria to handle real projects such as keeping chickens and school snacks. More will follow this year.

Source: Nachrichten

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