Sunday 20 October 2019

Dunbia eyes Brexit boost after sales surge by 60pc

Upbeat: Sales have passed the £1bn mark at meat group Dunbia
Upbeat: Sales have passed the £1bn mark at meat group Dunbia

Margaret Canning

THE group behind Co Tyrone meat giant Dunbia said it was poised to take advantage of opportunities from Brexit as it reported a sales increase of more than 60pc to over £1bn (€1.12bn).

According to Dunbia Limited's annual report for 2018, sales were up more than £400m to £1.09bn, though it had been a nine-month accounting period previously.

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It marks the UK group's first full company accounts since merging with Co Waterford firm Dawn Meats in 2017.

The group includes 11 operations in Britain, as well as its head office in Dungannon.

The group's pre-tax profits more than halved, to £3.5m from £7.2m.

Operating profit was down to £6.3m from £8.3m.

A strategic report filed with the accounts said the fall was due to reduced output prices and higher lamb input prices, along with increased labour costs, and other costs associated with the integration of the businesses. However, those factors were offset by the impact of the 12-month reporting period.

The report also said that the potential effects of Brexit related mainly to exchange rates and tariffs on goods and services.

It added: "We remain flexible to redirect our business as greater clarity emerges, so we are well-positioned to face challenges and avail of opportunities that might arise."

Employee numbers had fallen to 4,433 from 4,869, following the closure of a number of manufacturing facilities, including a site in Wales. Dunbia and Dawn Meats process 900,000 cattle and nearly three million sheep every year.

Dawn Meats was set up by Peter and John Queally, with their business partner Dan Browne.

It now has annual sales of £2bn, with more than 7,000 staff in 10 countries.

Dunbia was also established by two brothers, Jim and Jack Dobson. The companies merged in 2017.

Meanwhile, accounts for Dunbia (Northern Ireland) show sales of £236.3m in 2018, compared with £179.1m in the shorter accounting period.

The company said it had seen a reduction in hides sales, although higher retail volumes had helped offset that factor.

Pre-tax profit for the year was £3.637m, compared with £810,000 over the previous nine months.

Staff numbers fell to 938 from 1,061, though the wage bill climbed up to £26m, from £19m.

Looking ahead, its strategy will cover "product development and product growth", with a focus on maintaining a stable, high-quality supplier base.

Irish Independent

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