Ornua reduces staff numbers in Dubai office after sales fall

The offices of Ornua, Ireland’s biggest dairy exporter
The offices of Ornua, Ireland’s biggest dairy exporter
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Ornua has confirmed it has significantly reduced staff numbers in its Dubai office due to a fall-off in sales.

Ornua Middle East was established in 2008 and is responsible for the sales and marketing of Ornua foods and ingredients, including Kerrygold, Beo and Palatina for the regions of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Levant (Lebanon and Jordan), Mauritius, Seychelles, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

In its annual report for 2016, Ornua hinted at challenges in this market noting the challenging macro-economic environment in the region.

However, this week in a statement Ornua confirmed that it has had to reduce its sales and marketing team in its Ornua Food Middle East office.

It cited the economic impact of a sustained fall in oil prices in the Middle East and declining consumer spending locally, as the critical factors behind the decision.

Two years of low oil prices have caused governments around the region to cut spending and impose new taxes, slowing economic growth.

Meanwhile, rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran over instability in Lebanon and the conflict in Yemen have increasingly worried investors in the region.

However, Ornua said the Middle East remains a key strategic investment market for the business.

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"We continue to employ over 90 staff across both the Food and Ingredient divisions in the region including a cheese production facility in Riyadh which continues to see significant growth in the B2B sector," it said.

Eventful

November has been an eventful month for the former Irish Dairy Board with a fire severely damaging a mozzarella production facility in Spain.

Also this month, Ornua opened a 5,000-square-foot Innovation Centre in Chicago and launched Kerrygold butter in an eye-catching silver box in the Korean marketplace.

Kerrygold also returned to the shelves of retailers in the State of Wisconsin this month after a long-running legal battle.

Ornua delivered earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortization of €43.1m for 2016, up 18pc on the previous year. It continues to be Ireland's largest exporter of primary Irish dairy products with turnover increasing 9pc in 2016 to €1.7bn.

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