Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 10 December 2016

Dunbia profits soar by 40pc

John Mulgrew

Published 06/01/2016 | 02:30

Dunbia is one of Ireland's largest locally owned meat processing companies, and exports beef, lamb and pork across the globe.
Dunbia is one of Ireland's largest locally owned meat processing companies, and exports beef, lamb and pork across the globe.

Northern Ireland meat giant Dunbia has boosted its profits by more than 40pc, with turnover shooting up to £826m (€1,124m) for the year.

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The latest results for the Dungannon-headquartered firm come after it was revealed last month that the meat company could be sold as it dipped its toe in the water for buyers.

A teaser document has been prepared, due to be sent out to businesses who may have an interest in snapping it up.

Pre-tax profits at the beef, lamb and pork processor rose to more than £6.5m (€8.8m), in the year to March 29, 2015.

That's up from £4.6m (€6.2m) a year earlier, and an increase of around 8pc. Dunbia's turnover also increased from £769m (€1,046m) to £826m (€1,124m).

It says it's now focusing on "product development and volume growth" in order to expand its business. The company, which has around a dozen sites across the UK and Ireland, was established almost 40 years ago by brothers Jim and Jack Dobson, who still manage day-to-day operations.

In the strategic report included in its latest accounts, Dunbia said the "financial position of the group at the end of the of the financial period was considered to be satisfactory".

It said its future strategy "will continue to be that of product development and volume growth".

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"While the group and the industry as a whole have battled with fluctuating livestock prices, the group has been able to work closely with customers in retaining gross profit margin, and will continue to do so."

No one from Dunbia was available for comment on the results. Staff numbers across the firm's businesses increased by more than 350, to 3,605 up to March.

That led to overall staff costs increasing to almost £74m (€100m) for the financial year.

Turnover

Last year, Dunbia edged close to a £769m turnover for the year ending March 2014.

That was up more than £40m (€54m) on the previous. But pre-tax profits for the company fell during the course of 2014, dropping by almost £3m (€4m) to £4.6m (6.2m).

Dunbia supplies meat, including beef, lamb and pork, to a range of customers throughout the UK and further afield.

Some of its big contracts include supermarket giants Sainbury's and Asda. It sources livestock from more than 22,000 producers across the UK and Ireland.

And while it remains one of Northern Ireland's "most successful red meat companies" it still deals with "fine margins", along with much of the food processing industry here", according to economist John Simpson.

Mr Simpson said it is likely to attract interest from meat firms in the UK, and outside.It's not clear whether Dunbia would sell its entire business, or let go some of its dozen sites across the UK and Ireland.

Earlier this year, Northern Ireland poultry giant Moy Park was sold to Brazilian food group JBS SA in a deal worth almost £1bn (1.36bn).

It also follows the move by Larry Goodman's ABP Group to enter a partnership with Northern Ireland's Linden Foods to run the Slaney Foods business in Ireland.

The Slaney business accounts for 6pc of the cattle kill, while the operation Irish Country Meats delivers around 40pc of the sheep kill.

ABP processes 22pc of the beef kill and, if it is approved by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, that will increase to 28pc.

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