In what was an unprecedented year for any business, Carbery reported a very steady set of results for its 2020 financial year. The co-op made an operating profit €24.2m last year, which was in line with the previous year despite increased depreciation charges related to the recent capital investment programme.
Operating profit margins narrowed slightly from 5.6% to a still very healthy 5.3%, while pre-tax profits for the year were down 1% to just under €22.9m.
The group’s earnings (EBITDA) for 2020 increased slightly (+1%) to €44.9m, as earning margins narrowed slightly to just under 10%.
Overall, Carbery recorded a 6% increase in sales for 2020 to just shy of €460m. While it was slightly delayed due to COVID-19, Carbery began commissioning its new mozzarella facility in the back end of the year and produced the first product from its new facility.
Hawkins says the target will be to produce in the region of 6,000t to 7,000t of mozzarella from the facility this year and begin building its sales with new customers. While the company is primarily targeting markets in Asia with its mozzarella, Hawkins said there will be opportunities closer to home in Europe.
In all, Carbery processed a record 596m litres of milk last year, which was up 5% on the previous year. Hawkins said this sort of milk supply growth was higher than expected but reflected an excellent year for milk production in Ireland thanks to good weather conditions.
For the coming year, Carbery is forecasting its milk supply to grow by around 3%, which would push the co-op above the 600m litre mark for the very first time.
Like many other areas of the dairy sector, Carbery has placed a major emphasis on sustainability over recent years through its Greener dairy farms programme, and more recently in its investment in the Farm Zero C project, which is an exciting new research project aiming to demonstrate a profit focused dairy farm that is carbon-neutral.