Keenan Holdings suffers 80pc slump in profit
Operating profits at Carlow-based agricultural-equipment manufacturer Richard Keenan Holdings slumped 80pc to €555,000 last year as turnover at the group shrank 29pc to €41.4m.
The company directors note in accounts just filed at the Companies Registration Office that they have witnessed the toughest economic climate ever, but predicted that the current year would deliver a "strong rebound" to sales growth and profitability.
The company sells its equipment all over the world and is recognised as an industry leader.
The directors said that the global financial crisis had begun to impact its business in the last quarter of 2008 and that a collapse in commodity prices at the time adversely affected farmers' willingness to engage in capital investment.
"These factors had a particularly strong effect on depressing our sales in Ireland and New Zealand in 2009, although we saw drops in all our markets because, exceptionally, the price drop and income hit on farmers was across virtually all our markets," they added.
The company noted that the introduction of its new Mech-Fiber feed-ration system combined with a novel delivery system that helps cows produce more milk with the same or less feed quantity, resulted in "immediate demand" from existing Keenan customers.
The accounts point out that this was an important revenue source to make up for some of the lost margins on mixer sales.
Keenan has launched an integrated nutrition programme, initially in the US, the Netherlands and the UK, that aims to raise dairy herd efficiency. Similar developments have been introduced this year elsewhere in Europe, as well as in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The company spent €646,000 on R&D last year, down from €884,000 in 2008.
The group, which was established 30 years ago by the late Richard Keenan and which is today headed by his son Gerard, paid an interim dividend of €290,000 last year, down from €569,000 paid in 2008.