Rise of discount retailers hits Heinz's Irish business
The Irish arm of food giant Heinz has blamed the increasing impact of discount retailers here for contributing to a 8.4pc drop in its Irish business last year.
New accounts filed by HJ Heinz Manufacturing Ireland Ltd show that pre-tax profits declined by 75pc to £2.87m (€3.58m) in the seven months to the end of December last.
Revenues declined by 42pc to £52.85m. The chief factor behind the sharp drop in revenues and profits was the accounting period of seven months as opposed to 12 months in the previous period.
The principal activity of the firm is the manufacture of frozen food products for Heinz's manufacturing supply chain hub.
The directors also state that revenues were impacted by "the meat integrity issues that received prominent media coverage in the first half of the current period".
Part of the firm's business is to sell, market and distribute Heinz products in the Irish market and according to the directors "while in overall market terms the company's core categories have declined consistent with the softness in the Irish grocery trade, the company has grown relative market share".
The directors say that for the Irish business "the commercial environment will remain highly competitive in the period ahead". The firm paid a dividend of £58.58m.
The change to the firm's accounting period followed the purchase of Heinz in 2013 by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.
Numbers employed declined from 257 to 252 with staff costs reducing from £9.9m to £9.1m.