Irish processor enjoys strong profits

Fane Valley Co-operative has reported a 17% increase in turnover, as well as a 50% rise in pre-tax profits, for the last year.

The company, based in Armagh, also reported a 15% increase in net assets, while a rise in sales saw profits reach 9m for the year ending September 2013. The company, Northern Irelands leading dairy and meat processor, owns Kettyle Irish Foods, Hilton Meats, Irish Country Meats and Linden Foods, supplying beef, lamb, bacon and chicken to retailers and foodservice operations in the UK, Ireland, Europe and the Middle East.

Trevor Lockhart, group chief executive, commented on the report: The 2013 year started with one of the most difficult winter and spring periods in recent memory and concluded with one of the better grazing and crop-growing seasons. Farmers faced enormous challenges in managing land and livestock through to turnout, which in turn impacted on productivity levels and business cash flows. For many farm businesses it will take most of 2014 to fully recover.

Linden Foods reported growth of 19% to reach 337m, however, Lockhart said they were still feeling the effects of horsegate: Yet again, consumer confidence in beef has been rocked, with the effect not being limited to the UK and Ireland. These events have led us into a whole new world with regards to customer specifications, production and processing standards and the associated controls and traceability,

The full impact of post-horsegate changes within supply chains, a reduced consumer demand for beef across Europe and a lack of retailer promotional activity have resulted in a very substantial overhang of forequarter meat in the market. This has triggered a significant reduction in beef prices, which is placing enormous pressure on producer and processor margins, he added.

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