Belfast-based animal nutrition company Devenish is back into profit for the year ending 31 May 2021, after recording significant losses for the previous year.

Employing 578 people across sites in Britain and Ireland, as well as the US, Mexico, Denmark, Turkey, Uganda and Kenya, Devenish saw turnover for the year fall nearly £10m (€11.8m) to £216.4m (€254.6m).

Despite that dip, once costs were removed, operating profit was £6.2m (€7.3m), compared to an operating loss of £1.6m (€1.85m) for the previous year. Operating profit margin to 31 May 2021 stood at a narrow 2.9%.

Loans and other borrowings in the business increased from £54.3m (€63.9m) to £59.9m (€70.5m), meaning that interest payable on loans, etc, rose to £4.6m (€5.4,), leaving pre-tax profit at £1.6m (€1.9m).

That compares to a £5.8m (€6.8m) loss, and a small £0.76m (€0.89m) pre-tax profit, in the previous two years.

In its report to accompany the accounts, Devenish directors said that profits were achieved in the last financial year “despite trading being adversely impacted by macro-economic factors.”

Those factors include COVID-19, uncertainty due to Brexit and a fire at the Devenish distribution centre at Duncrue Street, Belfast, in November 2019.

On the issue of turnover, which has fallen for two consecutive years, the directors expect Devenish to “return to growth in the year ahead as markets begin to open post-COVID-19”.

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