Profits dip 11pc at Heinz Irish unit on flagging sales
PROFITS at the Irish arm of US food giant Heinz dipped 11pc last year as flagging sales of the firm's iconic baked beans and ketchup drove an 8pc fall in revenue.
The multinational's lacklustre local performance is revealed in accounts just filed for Dublin-based HJ Heinz Company (Ireland) Ltd, which show sales at the company came in at €108.9m for the year ended in April, while pretax profits stood at €15.9m.
The company's directors say the poorer figures came "despite volume growth year on year", citing "significant sales pricing activity and commodity cost inflation" as two of the reasons behind the drop in turnover and profit.
"The commercial environment is expected to remain highly competitive in the year ahead with further retailer share consolidation and pressures on the availability of space in store ... as retailers continue to expand their services beyond traditional grocery," the directors note.
They also point out that retailers are "expanding their own brand range" in response to the more difficult economic climate, creating even more competition for branded players like Heinz, though they stress that Heinz is "confident" its Irish business can be "sustained".
The Irish arm employed an average of 39 people last year and had racked up accumulated profits of €25.9m by its most recent year end in April.
The accumulated earnings have grown despite hefty parent company dividends, which came in at €12.2m last year and €12.8m in 2008.
Founded in Pennsylvania in 1869, Heinz employs 32,500 people globally and recorded a turnover of $10.1bn last year, that includes the sale of 650 million bottles of its ketchup brand every year.