Ornua has seen its operating profit jump 22pc to €49m for 2019, but warned it expects the coronavirus to negatively impact on its business.
The largest exporter of Irish dairy products saw its turnover grow by 12pc to €2.3bn, according to its annual results.
Meanwhile, earnings before interest, tax, deprecation, and amortisation were €71.8m, despite what it said was “a challenging global environment” characterised by economic uncertainty due to US tariffs, Brexit and market volatility.
John Jordan, CEO of Ornua said he was “pleased to report a strong trading performance for 2019.”
However, the co-operative, previously known as the Irish Dairy Board, warned that the business uncertainty and disruption being caused by the spread of the coronavirus is “severely impacting market sentiment.”
Ornua is seeing an increase in demand for its branded and private label cheese and butter in retail.
However, demand for its foodservice products have “fallen sharply” caused by the temporary shutdown of the sector in Europe and the United States.
Overall, there has been a decrease in consumption of dairy products worldwide.
Operationally, the co-op said its biggest challenge is to keep its supply chain operating to ensure markets for Irish dairy remain open at a time of great uncertainty.
Ornua said it will continue to purchase product from member co-ops in line with 2020 agreements.
“Our key focus for 2020 is to support our 2,400 strong team, our customers, our member co-ops and farmers as we face the challenges of Covid-19 together,” Mr Jordan said.
Last year Kerrygold became Ireland’s first food brand to reach €1bn in annual retail sales.
Elsewhere, Ornua purchased 400 million litres of milk equivalent under fixed price contracts from member co-ops in 2019.
Ornua also opened a €30m pizza cheese production facility in Ávila, Spain.