Lir sales boost profit to €1.3m

Pre-tax profits at luxury chocolate maker Lir Chocolates increased by 171% to €1.33m in 2015.

New accounts filed by Lir Chocolates Ltd show that it had the bumper profits after revenues at the firm exceeded €26m for the first time.

Boosted by a jump in revenues in the firm’s UK market, the company overall sales increased by 14% from €23.53m to €26.63m.

Staff numbers employed at the firm’s Co Meath plant increased from 237 to 277.

According to the directors’ report, the firm increased sales by maintaining and expanding sales across a wide customer base.

The business started off with now senator Mary White and Connie Doody, working with a food mixer and a bowl, in Christmas 1986.

In 2007, the Navan-based company was merged with British confectionery company Kinnerton, a subsidiary of Zetar, a UK publicly quoted food holding group.

Five years later, Zetar was in turn purchased by Germany-based food company Zertus.

Ms White resigned from the board in November 2014.

Ms Doody is the only remaining member of the board from 2015 after a boardroom shake-up that year.

Ann Murray is the new managing director of the firm after being appointed to the board in April 2016.

She has overseen a new strategy for the firm.

In a post-balance sheet event, the directors say that as a result of the strategic review, stock to the value of €600,000 could not be used.

The accounts show that the UK is by far the firm’s biggest market, accounting for €22.3m or 84% of sales in 2015.

Sales to the rest of Europe came to €2.74m, while Irish sales amounted to €1.49m.

The figures show that Lir was sitting on shareholder funds of €6.4m at the end of 2015, including cash of €2.09m.

The profit takes account of combined non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €902,327. The firm’s spending on product development increased from €39,119 to €99,073.

Of the 277 staff, 256 people work in production and 13 are involved in sales and eight people work in administration.

Staff costs at the firm in 2015 totalled €7m.

Pay for directors fell from €212,970 to €201,878.

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