Thursday 23 November 2017

Cheaper milk helps lift profits at family-owned yogurt firm

Glenilen Farm co-founders, Valerie and Alan Kingston
Glenilen Farm co-founders, Valerie and Alan Kingston

Gordon Deegan

One of Ireland's largest independent yogurt producers, the award-winning Glenilen Farm, recorded profits of €114,239 last year.

Revenues climbed by around 12pc at Glenilen Farm Ltd to €4.19m in the 12 months to the end of February 28 last year.

Firm co-founder Alan Kingston said yesterday that "we are very happy with how business has gone over the past number of years".

Mr Kingston said draft figures show the firm enjoyed revenues of €3.9m in the 10 months to the end of December last.

Mr Kingston said the profits in fiscal 2015 arose partly from lower commodity prices. "That made a huge difference to our bottom line. We view it is a temporary adjustment and prices will climb again but maybe not to the levels they were at."

The Glenilen brand of yogurts started off as a hobby in 1996 for Alan and Valerie Kingston, pictured, and the business today is projecting to produce over two million units of yogurt this year.

The firm employs 40 and operates a production plant at the couple's 55-acre dairy farm near Drimoleague in Co Cork.

Other products include cheesecakes, desserts, cream cheese, lemonade cordial, butter and creme fraiche.

Mr Kingston said the firm has expanded into the UK in recent years and sales there account for 17pc of total revenues.

"We are still at break-even in our UK business because of the investment made there."

Mr Kingston said that the firm's partnership with Waitrose, where Glenilen's products are stocked in 120 shops, continues to be very important for the company. He said: "They are an ideal partner for us."

Glenilen is to invest €500,000 in an expansion of the business premises at Drimoleague. "We reinvest the profits back into the business," Mr Kingston said, adding that through the recession, the business grew "because Irish people are very conscious about what they eat".

He added: "Irish people are ready to pay premium for Irish quality products."

Mr Kingston said that it is becoming more difficult to grow the business in Ireland as the firm's products are already in all of the multiples.

Mr Kingston said that "it gives us great satisfaction to create employment in a very rural area and it is nice to be able to contribute to the local economy and bring jobs and the spin off from that."

Accumulated profits rose from €265,443 to €379,682. The firm's cash pile increased from €284,716 to €371,562.

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