Sunday 11 December 2016

Wyeth doubles profits as China birth policy boosts infant formula exports

Gordon Deegan

Published 26/11/2016 | 02:30

Last year, Ireland overtook New Zealand to become the second-largest exporter of infant formula to China
Last year, Ireland overtook New Zealand to become the second-largest exporter of infant formula to China

The boom in infant formula exports to China has helped Limerick-based Wyeth Nutritionals to more than double its pre-tax profits to $165m (€155m).

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Last year, Ireland overtook New Zealand to become the second-largest exporter of infant formula to China, shipping 13,100 tonnes in the first half of the year alone.

Now, new accounts filed by Wyeth Nutritionals to the Companies Office show that it enjoyed soaring profits after revenues increased by 11pc to $584m (€550m).

Nestle-owned Wyeth Nutritionals is one of the four main formula companies based here. The others are Abbott, Danone and the Kerry Group.

The directors' report for Wyeth states that the 11pc increase in revenues was "driven by increased demand in the Greater China area".

The Chinese market is expected to grow ever bigger for the Irish players following the Chinese government's decision last year to abandon its controversial one-child policy. The market is set to grow by 10pc to 15pc with 1.5-2 million more babies born in the country each year.

Numbers employed at the plant in Askeaton, Co Limerick in 2015 increased from 603 to 617 with 347 in production and 270 in administration.

Staff costs dipped from €84.44m to €83.88m.

Pay to directors last year declined from €660,000 to €552,000.

The firm's shareholder funds stood at $1.2bn (€1.13bn) including $357m (€336m) in accumulated profits.

Irish Independent

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