Bord na Móna today announced its annual results for year ended March 2013. The  overall performance produced a record turnover for the Group at €426m showing a return to profit and a very healthy cash flow.

Bord na Móna faced exceptional operating challenges in the Feedstock business as a result of a 37 per cent milled peat harvest during the 2012 summer, the wettest recorded in the company’s history. The management team responded by initiating a number of mitigating measures to ensure a profitable performance for the group. There will, however, be a requirement to rebuild the peat stocks over the next few years to provide adequate stocks to meet sales demand.

The results underpin the importance of the Group’s balanced business portfolio including power generation, resource recovery and retail products and services. A significant focus during the year was the continued expansion of the wind energy portfolio in Oweninny (Co. Mayo) as well as Mount Lucas and Bruckana in the Midlands. The Edenderry Power Station ran as a co-fired station (peat/biomass) for the year further contributing to Ireland meeting its RES-E targets. Solid fuel sales were boosted by the extended winter season.

These results show:

 Turnover was up 11% to €426.1m reflecting the prolonged cold winter weather and the positive impact this had on sales of fuel. Also, the West Offaly Power station experienced a five month scheduled outage in the prior year. No such outage occurred in the current year.

 Operating profit was €23.5m (after exceptional items) compared to an operating loss of €3.7m in the previous year, which included an impairment charge of €23m in relation to the AES business. Exceptional costs of €23.5m were incurred as a result of the poor harvest in 2012, which at 37 per cent of target, was the lowest in the Company’s history.

 Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) remained strong at €61.2m despite the impact of the exceptional items

 Profit for the financial year was €9.2m as compared to a loss of €16.0m in theprevious year

 The group had a strong operating cashflow of €108.5m – up from €42.3m the previous year. This reflected the fact that significant amounts of cash were released as milled peat stocks were heavily depleted due to the poor harvest in 2012. In addition stocks of solid fuels products, including peat briquettes and coal reduced significantly due to higher than normal winter sales as a result of prolonged cold weather.

Bord na Móna CEO, Gabriel D’Arcy, said: “I am pleased to report strong results notwithstanding the challenging business environment and poor peat harvest in 2012. The results owe a great deal to the resilience and diverse strengths of the Group. They also reflect the fact that we took prompt action to reduce our costs, even as the impact of the poor harvest was becoming clear. The entire workforce in Bord na Móna deserves enormous credit for the way they responded and for their contribution to helping offset the effects of the crisis.

“I am especially pleased to note that despite challenges in the wider economy and individual sectors, all Bord na Móna businesses reported growth in their turnover figures. These results are particularly encouraging as the Group continues to expand to other more sustainable and non-peat related business areas.”

Expressing satisfaction with the overall performance, Chairman John Horgan said: “In the coming year Bord na Móna will be progressing a number of significant projects as part of our investment programme in wind and other renewable energy sources. We will also continue to engage with other stakeholders in relation to the provision of a sustainable water source for the Eastern Region enabled by our strategically located landbank.

“These significant infrastructural projects, combined with our drive for effective operations across the Group are part of our ongoing sustainable business strategy. The results demonstrate we have the capability to build a sustainable future for Bord na Móna, that will continue to produce significant returns for our shareholders”

The Bord na Móna Annual Report 2013 is available here.