Gleeson Group doubles profits to e4.5m despite economic crisis
THE company behind Tipperary Water almost doubled its profits to €4.5m last year, despite the economic downturn.
M&J Gleeson, better known as the Gleeson Group, recorded profits to €4.5m in the year to the end of June 2010, up from €2.5m the previous year.
"We have been badly hit by a range of factors but we've been careful and cost management is the key thing, there's no great mystery to it," Chief Executive Pat Cooney told the Irish Independent last night.
Gleeson Group has been owned by the Cooney family since 1974.
The company operates through 21 subsidiaries including alcoholic drink distribution, the Tipperary Water brand and units manufacturing cider, soft drinks and ice-pops. Last year Gleeson's bought the Gilbey wine distributors from Diageo, adding around 13pc of Irish wine sales to its portfolio.
Mr Cooney said income for 2009 and 2010 was hit by a major loss on alcohol stocks at the end of 2009, after excise duty was cut in Budget 2009.
"We took a €1m hit on that because the rate changed two weeks before Christmas when warehouses were full and we had to sell the stock at the lower prices," said Mr Cooney. The company has taken a legal challenge against the Government over the issue. The case has yet to be ruled on.
Profits surged in 2010 even though the group's turnover fell by €10m to €220m, according to accounts filed with the Companies Registration Office.
Gross profit for the year was stable after administration and distribution costs were cut by €1m, cost of sales was cut by €10m to €181m.
Commenting on the results, Mr Cooney said the company is profitable despite serious pressure from cheaper imports and competition from supermarkets.
Mr Cooney himself benefited from a tax-free patent royalty payment of €185,000 and a dividend of €30,000 in the year ended June 2010.
This year the business is also being hit by higher fuel, packaging and energy costs as a result of rising oil prices.
Last year's fall in turnover was the second year in a row that overall income was down.
Accounts for 2009 show that the Gleeson group booked a 30pc gain on its property portfolio, after having the assets re-valued for the first time since 1972. Most Irish companies were having to write-down the value of property during the same period.