Agribusiness group Aurivo said operating profit rose 5 per cent in 2019, supported by a rise in turnover in its dairy ingredients business.
The company, which includes Connacht Gold and the Donegal Creameries brands in its product line-up, said group turnover was €446.8 million for the year, up almost 1 per cent on 2018 figures, despite volatility in the dairy market. Operating profit before exceptional items was €3.2 million.
The exceptional costs of €6.4 million included an impairment charge of €5.96 million on goodwill in its For Goodness Shakes brand, €1.3 million in restructuring costs and settlement gains on its defined benefit pension of €868,000.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was €8.9 million, up from €8.2 million.
Turnover in consumer foods fell from €98.8 million in 2018 to €95.1 million last year, as market prices for cream fell and private label volume saw a reduction. Aurivo’s Agribusiness reported turnover of €115 million, 5 per cent lower than the prior year but “a very satisfactory performance” and ahead of budget.
Dairy ingredients saw an increase in market returns in 2019 for protein products, but pricing for butter saw a gradual reduction. Turnover in the division grew to €169.2 million from €153.4 million a year earlier, as milk volumes also rose. The group processed 459 million litres of milk, up 4.5 per cent on 2018. The year saw two new fixed milk price schemes introduced, bringing the number of fixed milk price schemes to six.
"Through cost efficiencies, we will ensure lower operational costs and eliminate all waste," said Donal Tierney, chief executive of Aurivo. "We intend to invest further in the latest technology to provide enhanced data and insights, which will guide our decision-making and help us concentrate on areas of growth and development."
The group said its five-year investment programme was underway, with €37 million of the €48 million budgeted investment programme completed and installed. The company includes three significant capital investment projects in its dairy ingredients plant, animal feed mill and its liquid milk processing site.
“The political volatility that prevailed in 2019, coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic that has swept the nation in 2020, has brought unprecedented challenges to our business and the economy,” Mr Tierney said. “For over 120 years we have made every effort to improve the viability of local farming communities and create employment. It is this community ethos along with Aurivo’s proven track record that will see us through this challenging time and enable us to continue to serve our members and communities of the future.”