Pretax profits at Northern Irish dairy producer Dale Farm quadrupled in the year to the end of March 31st, as the company recovered from the pandemic and focused on higher returning divisions.
The Belfast-headquartered dairy and ice cream producer recorded a pretax profit of £19.6 million (€22.6 million) for the year, during which it scaled back its ice cream business in the Republic, accounts filed to the UK’s Companies House show.
Turnover rose 12.6 per cent to £516.9 million and operating profit more than doubled to £23.1 million, while exceptional costs were lower than they were in the previous period.
The company, which is owned by a co-op and makes a range of dairy products for the retail, foodservice and food ingredients sectors, had seen a boost in retail sales but taken a hit in its foodservice business during the pandemic.
In the second half of the year to the end of March 2022, it said the gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions had a “positive effect” on foodservice volumes and reduced operational costs.
It also cited a move away from lower returning trading areas, the proactive management of margin, favourable global commodity prices and cost efficiencies across the business as reasons for its rise in profits.
During the financial year, it decided to scale back the operational activities of its subsidiary Dale Farm Ice Cream (Ireland) Limited, its ice cream business in the Republic, “due to continuing difficulties” with the performance of this unit.
Dale Farm Ltd recorded exceptional item costs of £1.8 million. This includes redundancy costs of £237,000 along with other exit costs of £992,000 relating to its scaling back of the Republic ice cream business.
Average employee numbers at the company were 575 in the year, up from 563.