Profits power ahead to £19m at family-owned Lissan Coal firm
Co Tyrone family-run energy firm Lissan Coal Company has witnessed its pre-tax profits soar by more than a third to £19m.
The Cookstown company, which is owned by Michael Loughran and his family, saw its profits rise to £19.3m for the year ending September 2014.
That's up from £14m in 2013.And while turnover dropped from £580m to £530m, Lissan Coal Company's (LCC) costs fell.
The firm said it continues to expand its Go chain of petrol stations.
It also invested in a coal exporting company based in Columbia.
And aside from being one of Ireland's largest importers of coal, LCC also entered the commercial gas supply market in 2014.
The group is made up of a range of businesses, including LCC Coal, LCC Oil, the newly formed LCC Power and a number of other firms.
Its profits are largely derived from overseas bulk trading in countries as far afield as South Africa, Columbia and throughout Europe.
Its oil division was set up in 1997 to expand the range of fuels available to customers.
It's one of Northern Ireland top performing firms across all sectors of business, and came in at the number 21 spot in the Belfast Telegraph's Top 100 Companies list.
And, as reported in the group's latest set of accounts, it continues to grow its Go brand of petrol stations, with more than 35 scattered across Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Economist John Simpson said that LCC was one of Northern Ireland's most "significant firms" dealing in energy and utilities.
"They have a mixture of business and quantities - minimising their overheads. And where they are based, they are likely to have cheaper overheads than firms based in Belfast.
"They are successful at handling very large volumes, in a market with utility services where profit margins aren't normally very good, unless there is a large volume of turnover, which there appears to be."
The firm also increased its staff numbers in 2014, rising to 179 from 156 a year earlier.
Dividends totalling £400,000 were paid to the group's directors.
Meanwhile, in May this year LCC Power - part of the LCC group - revealed it will be supplying energy to dairy and beef co-op Fane Valley and poultry giant Moy Park.