Bord na Móna earned a €22 million profit last year, its first since 2017, the State company has said.
Sales at the company originally established to harvest the Republic’s peatlands were €324 million in 2020.
Bord na Móna said that it earned a profit after tax last year of €22 million, against a €22.5 million loss in 2019. Chief executive Tom Donnellanhailed the “outstanding success” achieved by the company since 2017. “In full year 2018 the company made a pretax loss of nearly €14.4 million and a net debt of €76.1 million,” he said.
Mr Donnellan explained that Bord na Móna began shifting to renewable energy, recycling and other businesses, leaving it with significant extra exceptional costs.
“We have now emerged from that process and returned to profit,” he said.
Bord na Móna ended the year with no debt. The company cleared its liabilities in 2019.
Mr Donnellan said that it spent €26 million on its recycling and renewable energy businesses last year. “We are planning to grow this expenditure in coming years,” he added.
The company is backing renewable energy projects worth a total of €1.6 billion between now and 2030. During the year, it secured planning for a solar farm, which converts sunlight to electricity, and an anaerobic digester which produces natural gas from waste.
Onshore wind farm
Bord na Móna began building two new wind farms, at Cloncreen in Co Offaly, and started the second phase of its existing power plant at Oweninny in Co Mayo.
It also announced plans for the Republic's biggest onshore wind farm at Ballydermot, Co Kildare, and expanded its waste business, adding new customers and buying Wicklow-based AWD.
The company intends to create 885 new jobs over the next five years as it continues to expand its existing operations. Mr Donnellan said that it had taken on 550 extra workers over the last 18 months.
Bord na Móna has also begun its Peatlands Climate Action Scheme. This will “repair and revive” more than 30,000 hectares of peatland, which will absorb 100 million tonnes of carbon.
“These works will also help tackle the biodiversity crisis and will also make a considerable contribution to the development of new amenities and associated employment opportunities across the region,” said Mr Donnellan.