Japanese quake hits profits at Irish firm

The impact of the Japanese earthquake will hit profits this year at Co Cork-based manufacturer, Alps Electronics.

The Japanese-owned firm employs just under 500 people in the Millstreet-based plant, and managing director Brendan O’Shaughnessy said yesterday that the earthquake has affected the company’s bottom line this year.

Accounts just filed by Alps Electric (Ireland) Ltd show the firm’s revenues increased by 10% from €58 million to €64m in the 12 months to the end of March last year.

However, higher distribution costs resulted in the firm’s pre-tax profits decreasing sharply from €4.9m to €841,608.

The principal activity of the firm is the manufacture of electronic parts and modules for the automotive industry.

Mr O’Shaughnessy said that he is happy with the company’s performance this year and last year.

He said: “The impact of the earthquake did affect the operation here, but we have recovered well.”

He added that profits will be around the same in the current financial year to the end of March to the previous year.

“We have also started a number of new products,” said Mr O’Shaughnessy.

The figures show that the number of direct and indirect employees at the plant last year increased from 413 and 490, and Mr O’Shaughnessy said that employee levels currently are around the same.

Underlining the company’s importance to the Millstreet economy, staff costs at the company last year increased from €12.8m to €14.7m.

Accumulated profits at the company last year reduced to €8.5m. This was after the firm paid a dividend of €2m, following a dividend pay-out of €3.3m in 2010.

According to the directors’ report “customer demand increased significantly compared to 2008 and 2009 based on increased car sales through Europe and globally. Unfortunately, this resulted in global shortages of electric parts and integrated circuits in particular.

“As a result, the company incurred significant costs for additional air freight and overtime costs to avoid stopping our customer production lines. This situation had substantially improved by March 2011.

“In addition, the weakness of Euro against US dollar and Japanese Yen, increased the cost of parts purchased in those currencies.”

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