Glanbia issued several profit warnings in 2019, with the share price tumbling more than 40pc since this time last year. Chief executive Siobhán Talbot blamed everything from international supply chain issues to tariffs and "geopolitical tension".
But last week, the company homed in on Glanbia Performance Nutrition (GPN) as the central problem facing the group.
There are some fundamental issues with Glanbia's one-time wonder division GPN, namely that whey protein is not now viewed as the super-supplement for fitness and health that it was once believed to be.
In addition to that, aspirations to extend its popularity from bulked-up body-builders to everyday fitness fans have not delivered.
International take-up of protein supplements has also failed to live up to expectations.
Last week, full-year numbers from Glanbia on GPN were actually quite stark.
The margin from GPN was 10.7pc in 2019, down from 14.7pc a year earlier. This represents a sharp and worrying decline in margins.
Margins for the business peaked in 2016 at 16.1pc but have been slowly declining ever since - until last year, that is, when the fall accelerated significantly.
Several reasons for falling margins have been given by the company. A small fall in 2017 was blamed on the "net impact of higher year-on-year input costs and increased brand investment".
A year later, another fall was due to "tariff costs, foreign exchange headwinds and brand investment".
According to the company's update last week, margins improved in the second half of last year, but clearly there are some deep-seated issues at GPN.
Among them is the fact that while Glanbia was a specialist player in the heavy duty world of body-builder supplements, there is a lower barrier to entry for competitors in the wider consumer market.
It is also worth noting that another Glanbia division, Nutritional Solutions, an ingredients business, has now surpassed GPN in margin terms (although its margins were also down in the year).
Talbot has now split GPN into four divisions: North America Performance Nutrition, North America Lifestyle, International, and Direct to Consumer.
Lifestyle has been streamlined, with more than 1,200 products (such as flavoured variations) being axed.
This new organisational structure would make the business nicely packaged for sale, particularly for US consumer food players.
It would have been better to sell four years ago when margins were significantly higher, and the opportunities beyond the US and UK seemed immense.
But given the challenges it faces, Glanbia must surely be open to offers for some or all of GPN's new divisions.
CRH under scrutiny despite further strong results
Building materials giant CRH revealed strong results on Friday, with improved profitability and a welcome 15pc increase in its dividend. Yet it still has some heavy lifting to do with its underlying margins.
The company has committed to boosting its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) margins by 300bps by 2021.
Some in the market are very sceptical about the group's ability to deliver on this improvement.
Indeed, it was a topic of discussion at an analysts 'sell-side' dinner with management in December.
According to a note from equity researchers Jefferies, chief executive Albert Manifold reiterated at the dinner that he was confident the upside could be delivered over this year and next.
CRH's full-year results showed that overall margins were up 230bps but that underlying margins were up just 50bps.
So the company has just two years to make up the other 250bps. It believes that cost-cutting and other best-practice initiatives will deliver this.
Consensus in the market is factoring in an improvement of just 100bps, a point which the Jefferies note said Manifold alluded to at the dinner.
Clearly, many analysts and investors doubt CRH's ability to deliver on the 300bps target.
Despite the strength of CRH's share price, focus on the lack of progress on its margin promise is likely to intensify.
European firm Kepler Cheuvreux, for one, believes the question of the margin target will become "increasingly controversial" over the next year or so.
Sunday Indo Business