CARBERY Group has reported an increase in group turnover for 2017 of €417.3 – up 22.7% from €340 million in the previous year
Noting the significant concern posed by Brexit, Jason Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer, Carbery Group said that the positive results were achieved as a result of strong trading performance across all three of Carbery’s strategic business platforms of Dairy, Nutrition and Taste.
‘Our dairy business performed well on the back of strong dairy markets and continuing growth in our milk supply. Carbery’s Nutritional Ingredients platform continued to drive growth across new products, customers and markets, and Synergy, our international taste business (supplier of flavourings, extracts and essences), once again delivered a very strong performance with growth across all key markets,’ he said.
Employing over 600 people, Carbery, whose HQ is in Ballineen, operates from eight locations including Ireland, the UK, the USA, Brazil and Thailand.
Mr. Hawkins noted that, as a result of very strong dairy markets and a good business performance, Carbery was able to continue to pay a leading milk price to its supplier shareholders during 2017. In addition, at the year end, the Board declared a one cent per litre bonus for 2017 milk.
Supplies of milk to Carbery’s processing facility in Ballineen increased by 8.2% to 509 million litres in 2017, and are up 28% since the removal of quotas.
Carbery is the country’s largest single cheese-producing facility, producing almost 25% of Ireland’s annual cheese output, and Mr Hawkins acknowledged that Brexit was a particular concern given the importance of the UK market for Irish cheddar.
He said: ‘We have a Brexit working team evaluating and preparing for all scenarios under either a soft or hard Brexit. We are also working closely with Irish governmental and industry bodies to ensure the potential implications of Brexit are understood and that we, and the dairy industry, are supported.’
Looking ahead to this year, Mr Hawkins said that Carbery Group is well positioned to continue to build upon the strong performance achieved in 2017.
‘Dairy markets will prove more challenging for our dairy business and milk suppliers in 2018, particularly if EU supply growth continues at recent levels. We currently have our stability fund in place to support potentially volatile and weakened markets. At the same time the management team will continue to manage dairy commodity risk across the business. I am optimistic that longer term dairy demand is healthy and that Carbery will continue to create value for our shareholders through investment in research and development, new product opportunities and facility expansion to cater for planned growth.’
During 2017 Carbery invested a further €17.1 million across its global operations. This brings investment in the business over the past five years to a total of €80 million. The group’s net debt position at 31 December 2017 was reduced to €12.7 million (2016: €26.2 million).