Leslie Buckley-backed Nualtra back in black after legal woes end

Accounts for 2018 show pile of losses down to €4.2m and net assets up to €515,000

Dr Paul Gough, dietician and founder of Nualtra

Dr Paul Gough, dietician and founder of Nualtra

 

Nualtra, a nutritional products company backed by Digicel directors Leslie Buckley and Sean Corkery, has returned to profitability after freeing itself from “the ball and chain” of legal disputes with a commercial rival.

The company, which spent more than two years until 2017 in a bitter trademark row with UK rival Aymes International, made a profit last year of almost €1 million, up from a loss the previous year of almost €700,000.

Nualtra sells supplements that are most often prescribed by doctors to adult patients suffering malnutrition, such as the elderly or cancer patients.

Its recently filed accounts for 2018 show its accumulated pile of losses is down to €4.2 million, while its net assets moved back into positive territory, at €515,000. The group incurred heavy legal costs during its battle with Aymes.

Although its abridged public filings contain only limited financial information, it is understood that group sales last year were just under €10 million. The company, which has focused heavily on the UK market in the past, is thought to be formulating an expansion plan for northern Europe. It is also developing a new range of products.

Ball and chain

Dietician Paul Gough, the company’s chief executive and founder, said the return to positive performance was reflective of the fact it had “got rid of the shackles” of its commercial dispute.

“It’s great to get rid of that ball and chain,” he said. Mr Gough added that the business was growing strongly in Ireland and the UK by entering new categories, and was being supported by Enterprise Ireland on its European foray.

Mr Gough is a son-in-law of Mr Corkery, a former Apple executive who chairs Actavo, the building services group owned by businessman Denis O’Brien. Mr Corkery owns a stake of about 18 per cent in Nualtra.

Mr Buckley owns a stake of about 15 per cent, and a separate tranche of shares owned by his wife brings his family’s share up to 22.5 per cent. Mr Buckley, the former chairman of Independent News and Media, sits on Nualtra’s board alongside his son, JD Buckley, the managing director of Sky Ireland.