Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Foyle Food Group Ltd

The Foyle Food Group, headquartered at Campsie, is one of the largest processors and wholesalers of meat products based in Northern Ireland.

Annual turnover averaged nearly £120m per year in the early part of this decade, but increased sharply each year after 2004. For a period from 2003 turnover was larger because of the inclusion of the share of business from an associated Hilton Foods company.

The group trades in its own name and is also the parent company of Omagh Meats and Donegal Meat, the latter being a subsidiary of Oaksilver, itself a holding company which is registered in the Republic of Ireland.

Foyle Food Group has developed in recent years with extensive trading links, and also links with certain common directors of the Hilton Foods Group and Hilton Meats (Cookstown).

Sales to the Hilton Food Group rose from £27m in 2003 to £81m in 2006. Since then the annual figure has risen to £97m in 2008.

Group operating profits have stayed in the ‘black’ and varied from year to year. Operating profits in 2008, at £2.8m, were lower than the previous year.

However, the 2007 operating profits were the best of this decade. Pre-tax profits were at their highest level in 2006 at £6.8m. Since then the contribution from associated businesses has decreased in 2007 and is not a factor in 2008.

Employment in the group in 2008 averaged 786 people. This was well above earlier years when employment was nearer to 600 people.

Because the group trades in both sterling and euro, and has some assets valued in both currencies, a period when the euro has tended to strengthen relative to sterling has created a currency translation adjustment which has, nominally, increased the value of shareholders funds in sterling in both 2007 and 2008 by £0.4m and £1.7m, respectively.

This is a large part of the £2.2m increase in the value of shareholders’ funds in December 2008, along with the retention of post-tax profits.

The Foyle Food Group was re-organised in March 2007 so that it became a wholly owned subsidiary of a new company, Faughan Ltd.

In April 2009, in a further significant change in structure, Faughan Ltd entered into a contract to buy back half of its share issue: 60,000 of its own ordinary shares. This is planned in two stages. 48,000 were purchased in April 2009 and 12,000 will be purchased in April 2010. These transactions are for a consideration of £9.7m.

In other changes in April 2009, two directors from the Watson family connection resigned from the board. At that time, three directors from the Acheson family connections remained as directors.

Belfast Telegraph