Food co-op announces €4.5m jump in profit
STRONGER commodity prices helped push Lakeland Dairies to its highest profit in three years, the company announced yesterday.
The co-op, which focuses on the food services and catering sector, said operating profit for the 12 months to the end of December jumped to €4.5m on the back of revenues of some €401m.
Those numbers were well up on 2009, when the company recorded profits of €1.4m on turnover of €325m. Shareholders' funds stood at €76.7m by the end of the year.
Lakeland's chief executive Michael Hanley was very pleased with his company's results and rejected the suggestion that Lakeland was reliant on the commodity market holding up.
"Last year was a broadly positive year for us. Internationally, there was a return to growth in our key markets as the global recession slowed and this gradual recovery has helped to sustain a rise in demand for dairy products globally, raising market prices to improved levels," he said.
"As long as milk prices remain at reasonable levels -- somewhere in the 28 to 32c a litre level -- then our business should remain very strong."
The co-op's food-ingredients sector was the catalyst for the growth, with revenue increasing by nearly a third year-on-year to €232m.
Lakeland experienced growth in its key markets of the UK, US and Africa, while the food service division raised revenue by 14pc to €130m. Agri-trading revenue rose 15pc to €39m.
"Prospects for the world dairy markets look reasonably good for the current year and, as we export more than 90pc of our goods, that is good news for us in the medium term," said Mr Hanley.