Profits increase at Connacht Gold

CONNACHT Gold Co-op has reported a 13% rise in turnover and a sharp increase in pre-tax profits.

The group benefited from the agriculture upturn and the disposal od a property that pushed pre-tax profits to €5m from €1.8m in the year to the end of December 2010.

Turnover at the dairy, consumer foods and agri-business co-op reached €300m in 2010 compared to €264m in 2009.

The group said earnings were “boosted by proceeds from a property disposal”.

The company performed well across all key criteria underlying its “strength and resilience,” said chief executive Aaron Forde.

Sales of consumer foods expanded significantly and retail sales in agri-business stores grew “in spite of a very challenging environment,” Mr Forde said.

These areas will see up to 30 jobs created in 2011.

The marts business had a record year while the better margins returned by the international dairy sector “were passed back to dairy farmers resulting in a much-needed boost to incomes”, he said.

Cash flow of just under €6.7m and tight control of working capital saw borrowings fall from €23.7m in 2009 to €17.2m last year.

The group spent over €5m in capital investment across the business in 2010.

Consumer food sales increased to €43m with Connacht Gold butter brands up 23% in volume.

Renewed confidence from improved global market demand encouraged increased milk supply and turnover in dairy ingredients rose by 44%, to €60m as a result.

Connacht Gold chairman Padraig Gibbons said: “We will remember 2010 as the year confidence returned to agriculture.”

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