By Gordon Deegan

A meat processing group owned by Larry Goodman last year returned to profit to record pre-tax profits of €3.2 million.

New consolidated accounts for the Goodman-owned Slaney Foods and Irish Country Meats businesses show that Wexford Beef & Lamb Unlimited Company (WBL) recorded the pre-tax profit after revenues rose by 11% from €322.5 million to €357.9 million in 12 months to the end of September 27, last.

The revenue jump came ahead of Goodman’s ABP reaching an agreement in May of this year to acquire the remaining 50% holding in Fane Valley Co-op’s ‘red meat’ business that includes Slaney Foods and Irish Country Meats.

The amount involved in the transaction was not disclosed. The businesses had operated as joint ventures over the preceding five years.

Goodman and Slaney Foods

The Slaney Foods group operates processing facilities at Camolin and Bunclody, Co. Wexford; Navan, Co. Meath; and Liege, Belgium.

In a buoyant year for the group, numbers employed increased from 971 to 1,008 last year. Staff costs last year increased from €34.6 million to €35.72 million.

On the impact of Covid-19 on the business, the directors said that despite significant challenges brought about by the pandemic, the business “continues to trade strongly during the current period”.

The board states that they are confident that the group is well positioned to manage the risks of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The profits for the holding company last year take account of combined non-cash depreciation and amortisation charges of €5.6 million.

Wexford Beef & Lamb Unlimited Company

The WBL business recorded a gross profit of €85 million after cost of sales totalled €272.8 million.

Operating costs totalling €58 million and administrative expenses amounted to €23.55 million resulting in an operating profit of €3.4 million.

Finance costs of €231,000 reduced the profits to a pre-tax profit of €3.2 million.

According to the directors’ report attached to the accounts filed by WBL, “the directors are satisfied with the results for the period and are confident that the group will continue to trade profitably in the coming year”.

Meat processing

The group is engaged in the procurement and slaughter of cattle and sheep and the further processing of the meats with related products for the sale on the home and export markets.

The directors state that they are also confident that the group is well positioned to manage any adverse impact Brexit may have on the business.

The directors state that they have strategically and financially prepared for the potential ongoing impact the UK exit may have on the group.

On the group’s future developments, the directors state that they are satisfied that “the group will maintain and grow its business and research and develop additional ways to add value to meat and its by-products”.