Business Irish

Sunday 17 December 2017

Who is Dairygold kidding?

The Punt likes Dairygold and its dynamic chief executive, Jim Woulfe. He is doing a good job running a good business so we're going to pass along some free public relations advice. We don't do it too often but we'll make an exception this time.

Company financial results go up and down. Investors understand that, journalists understand that, and the wider public understand that.

That being the case, what possible reason can there be to publish annual results along with the equivalent figures for the previous year?

Unfortunately, not all companies do this. This week, Dairygold – the biggest co-op in the country – published their annual report.

The accompanying press release, however, highlighted an operating profit of €20m, revenue down 4pc and little else by way of profit and loss. This was a red flag. There is a saying in business: "operating profit is what you made before you paid your bills". So it proved. Dairygold's profit after tax actually fell a third to some €14.4m. You wouldn't have known that, though, unless you did some digging into the annual report.

We understand that, as a private business, Dairygold can publish as much or as little about its finances as it likes.

Still, opting to ignore the bottom line figures and focus on a number that has little real relevance is unbecoming of both the company and the man.

Profits were down and it was a tough year. No problem. Everyone understands that. Accept it, admit it, and move on.

Irish Independent

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