Thursday 18 January 2018

Pension issue offsets Mars profit rise

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Profits at Mars Foods Ireland rose last year despite a fall in sales as the company battled an "extremely challenging" market.

Pre-tax profits at the Irish unit rose nearly 23pc to €9.7m, while turnover fell 6pc to €135.4m.

It's also trying to manage a ballooning deficit at a pension scheme for its former and current employees. The net deficit at a defined benefit scheme it operates soared to €20.5m at the end of last year from €4.5m at the end of 2011.

That has also raised concerns for the directors of the division.

"Although having strong control over our financial position, this has not offset the pension development, which is adversely impacting our net financial equity," the directors warn.

Mars Food Ireland also paid a €10.1m interim dividend to its US parent during the year.

The company – whose products range from the eponymous Mars bar to M&Ms, Wrigley, Pedigree and Whiskas – is also coping with a difficult economic environment.

"Trading conditions in Ireland remain extremely challenging and the pressure on consumers' disposable incomes has increased," the directors note in newly filed accounts for the business.

Irish Independent

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