Profits drop 36% at Lily O’Brien’s chocolates

Revenues at the Irish chocolate manufacturer rise by 8%

Profits at luxury chocolate manufacturer Lily O’Brien’s declined 36 per cent to €2.1 million last year. The Kildare-based company incurred the drop in pre-tax profits as revenues increased 8 per cent to €32.15 million.

A €40 million deal to purchase the company by Polish food company Colian Holdings was completed early last year.

According to the directors’ report, the business continued to “achieve success in core markets” last year. However, higher costs resulted in its operating profits reducing by 28 per cent to €2.9 million.

Non-cash write-offs in investments totalling €493,876 and interest payments of €298,745 resulted in a pre-tax profit of €2.11 million.


The company recorded a post-tax profit of €1.75 million after paying €354,995 in corporation tax.

The profits last year takes account of combined non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €1 million.

The number of people employed by the company last year reduced from 127 to 123 as staff costs declined marginally from €4.92 million to €4.85 million.

Directors’ pay, including pension payments, reduced from €405,514 to €375,256.

Export markets

Founded in 1992 in the Kildare kitchen of Mary Ann O’Brien, the company was named after her eldest daughter Lily.The bulk of the company’s sales today are overseas, and some of its export markets include the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Portugal.

Colian Holdings exports biscuits, chocolates, jellies and seasoning products from Poland, and is also active in the beverage sector.

The Lily O'Brien board was overhauled last year with four Colian directors appointed, but Ms O'Brien remains as a director and consultant to the company. The business continues to be run by the existing management team led by chief executive Eoin Donnelly.

Shareholder funds at the end of last year totalled €11.23 million, which included accumulated profits of €9.8 million. The company’s cash balance reduced from €3.5 million to €2.9 million.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times