CORK-based drinks distribution firm Barry & Fitzwilliam saw pre-tax profit rise 6% to €3.4 million last year but it said 2009 is proving much tougher.
The company, which claims responsibility for introducing Corona to the Irish market, said the results for 2008 and the financial position at year end were satisfactory. The directors expect continued growth for the foreseeable future, according to accounts just filed.
Company director, Michael Barry said much of this year’s growth is due to the phenomenal sales of Corona. In August, volume sales of Corona surged 50% compared with the same month last year.
“This is a fantastic result in the current environment,” he said.
In 2008 retained profit for the year was €3m from €2.8m in 2007. Turnover was down slightly from €86.1m to almost €83m.
Mr Barry and Christopher Murphy are listed in the accounts as directors of the firm. Both directors each own 50% of the original share capital of the company.
“The company continued to progress during the year under review and the board continues to seek to strengthen and expand the business,” the accounts read.
The directors do not recommend the payment of a final dividend. Risks facing the firm include poor economic conditions in domestic and international markets, increased competition and proposed legislative restrictions on alcohol advertising and promotion.
The board said it reviews and agrees policies for the prudent management of these risks on regularly.
The number of people employed by the company fell from 84 in 2007 to 76 last year. As a result staff costs fell from almost €5.2m to €4.6m.
Pension costs amounted to €722,712 last year from €1.06m in 2007. The company is based on the Airport Road in Cork. It is planning an expansion into the North given that drinks sales in the Republic have been hit by the exodus of shoppers heading North for cheaper prices.
The Cork firm recently took over the distribution of the portfolio formerly held by Allied Drinks Distributors adding new brands include Hardys, Robert Mondavi, Echo Falls, Blackthorn Cider and Tauntons Cider.
Among the brands in the Barry & Fitzwilliam portfolio are San Miguel, Jagermeister and Boru Vodka.
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