Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: DCC Energy Ltd

By John Simpson

DCC Energy is one of Northern Ireland’s largest suppliers of liquefied petroleum gas and fuel oils.

The Northern Ireland business is a wholly owned subsidiary of DCC plc, registered in Dublin. Until a decade ago, the company traded as Flogas and was a subsidiary of Flogas UK.

DCC Energy is the parent company which also owns the trading names of EMO oil, Kane Fuels, Cawood Oil, Allied Oils and Belfast Storage. These names are still in use, but the subsidiaries are technically described as non-trading.

Turnover in the Northern Ireland business has fluctuated in recent years. It more than doubled from 2001 to 2004 when annual turnover reached over £252m. In the following three years turnover fell to reach a low point of £149m in 2006-7 and since then the annual figures have increased by 12% in 2007-8 and a further 23% in the most recent year.

Profit margins, as a proportion of turnover, tend to be low. Operating profit in the three most recent years was 1.7%, 2% and 1.9% respectively of turnover.

The company is financed by significant funds borrowed within the group and this has left a net interest charge of £1.2m in 2008-9. Pre-tax profits were therefore lower than operating profits.

In both 2006-7 and 2007-8, the local company paid a dividend of £2m to its shareholding parent company. Since the dividend exceeded the level of post-tax profits, the impact was to reduce the profit and loss reserve carried on the balance sheet.

The value of shareholders’ funds, as expressed in the balance sheet, fell from £11.6m in March 2006 to £9.6m in March 2007 and £7.9m in March 2008.

In 2008-9, no dividend was paid and this left a post-tax contribution to add to reserves that brought the balance sheet funds to £9.9m. Employment numbers have been relatively stable in the last four years and averaged 166 people in 2008-9. Earlier in this decade employment numbers exceeded 300 for three successive years before a sharp fall in 2005.

The company operates two pension schemes. A defined benefit scheme has assets worth over £2.4m and at the last assessment was carrying a net deficit of £643,000. The company also has an employee share scheme.

Belfast Telegraph