Carbery Group reports ‘solid’ financial performance for 2019

Carbery Group has reported a good financial performance for 2019 in its financial results for the year, with group turnover increasing by 3% to €434 million.

Milk volume for Carbery in 2019 was 567 million litres, all processed in Ballineen, west Co. Cork. This volume represents a 42% growth since 2015.

Production across the group since 2017 has increased by 20%, while carbon emissions decreased by 11.7%.

Carbery says that the 2019 results are “grounded in a commitment to responsible expansion and sustainability across the group”.

Group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at €44.3 million, an increase of 1%.

The group’s net debt position was €47.2 million on December 31 last year, an increase from 430.1 million at the same date in 2018.

A €78 million cheese diversification project, due for completion this year, has “demanded a significant amount of energy and focus from the Carbery team”.

The group’s growth in 2019 has been attributed to expansion across all platforms. For example, Carbery’s nutrition business saw a strong performance last year. 2019 also saw the opening of a commercial base in Shanghai, China.

A strong performance in Carbery’s taste division was achieved through a newly-updated global strategy, which is focused on responding to the changing tastes and dietary needs in Europe, as well as growth plans in Asia.

Carbery’s taste business in the Americas also saw a good performance.

“While we are committed to growing the company, underpinning our growth ambitions is a focus on growing in a sustainable way, which will guarantee a stable and successful future for our business, our shareholder suppliers, our people, the community and the environment,” said Jason Hawkins, Carbery CEO.

Sustainability

2019 saw further progress in sustainability, the group said. Since 2017, carbon emissions at Ballineen have decreased 28.5% per tonne of production.

Among the group’s sustainability initiatives are included:

  • Since 2018, electricity purchased has been from 100% renewable sources;
  • A water programme has saved €1.4 million of water per day at Ballineen;
  • The Carbery Greener Dairy Farms Programme has seen the 25 participating farms reduce emissions by 15%;
  • Last summer, five Carbery farms tested small-scale grass bio-refineries, the first of their kind in Ireland;
  • 95% of paper and cardboard brought into Ballineen is certified sustainable;
  • From this year, the group will begin reducing the amount of plastic used by up to 10t/year.

Covid-19

“It’s hard to believe, as we reflect on 2019, that the challenges posed by Covid-19 in 2020 were on the horizon. Looking forward, Carbery Group is focused on our business continuity plan and managing the situation so we can maintain uninterrupted production across our businesses throughout this crisis,” said Hawkins.

He added: “Our cheese diversification project has been slightly delayed but is almost complete. Like all processors, we are closely monitoring volatile dairy markets across the world.”

Hawkins highlighted: “Our primary concerns, as we remain at the peak of this crisis, are to safeguard the health of our employees and our farmer suppliers, as we endeavour to maintain production.”