| 19.2°C Dublin

Queally unit posts €3m pre-tax profits

One of the main meat processing firms owned by Waterford's Queally brothers -- the Arrow Group -- surged back into the black last year as it posted pre-tax profits of €3m. That compared to a €1.9m pre-tax loss a year earlier.

In accounts just filed for the business at the Companies Registrations Office, directors at the company note that while the meat processing industry has recovered from a devastating pig meat recall in 2008, weak consumer demand is impacting the sector.

Turnover at the Arrow Group, which is controlled by John, Peter and Michael Queally and employs over 1,500 people, rose 3.3pc last year to €351m.

The results don't include the Queallys' Dawn Meats group, which is unlimited, and doesn't have to file publicly available accounts. The directors noted that while some sectors of the group "suffered further decline" in volume, "this was more than offset by growth in others and by the benefit of stronger sterling".

The bulk of Arrow's turnover is derived from meat processing, including the production of pet food, but the company also has a stake in a Barcelona water-distribution business, a plastic bottle manufacturer, and an interest in all-weather football pitches.

It also has a 50pc stake in chocolate firm Lily O'Brien's and an interest in a Brazil-based meat operation, Minerva Dawn Farms. Late last year, the Queallys boosted their investment in Minerva Dawn Farms, citing "significant growth opportunities" for the venture.

The accounts note that redundancy costs of €201,000 were paid last year, while Arrow had also received government and EU grants totalling €25.7m by the end of 2010.

The company's expenditure on research and development also soared last year, from almost €1.8m in 2009 to €5.1m. The group had net debt of €127.5m at the end of 2010, down from €130.6m at the beginning of the year.

Irish Independent