Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Lissan Coal Co. Ltd.

How diversification has sparked Lissan Coal’s spectacular rise in turnover and employment

By John Simpson

Lissan Coal is a large and diverse family-controlled business, headquartered in Cookstown.

The business is as a distributor in fuel oil and gas along with related fuel products and equipment, as well as wholesaling and retailing of coal. The group has launched and is developing its ‘GO’ branded fuel stations and outlets.

Six other energy and fuel companies operate within the group as related parties. In addition, there are subsidiary companies registered in Spain and Ireland whose main activities, consolidated in the group, are the wholesaling of bulk coal. A new subsidiary is LCC Power, registered in Northern Ireland.

Lissan Coal also owns half of the voting share capital of LSS Ltd, a Northern Ireland registered joint venture where the other participant is Statoil Hydro ASA. That joint venture registered a post-tax profit share of £1.4m in 2011 (compared to £0.9m in 2010).

Group turnover has risen sharply in the last seven years from just over £50m in 2005 to nearly £482m in the most recent year to September 2011.

During 2011 the company reports that it increased its share of the oil and coal market which was assisted by securing several large contracts. Consequently, operating profits which fell in 2009 increased significantly in both 2010 and 2011 to reach a peak compared to other recent years.

After allowing for the impact of interest payments and receipts as well as the joint venture profits, pre-tax profits in 2011 were £15.6m, double the level a year earlier. Profit margins in the businesses of the group are small.

Pre-tax profits were equal to less than 1.8% of turnover in 2009 but have since risen to reach 3.2% of turnover in 2011.

While turnover has increased to nearly 10 times the annual figure in 2005, average employment has nearly tripled from 43 people in 2005 to 110 in 2011.

Most of post-tax profits are retained each year in the business and, as a result, the balance sheet value of shareholders’ funds reached £37.6m in September 2011, nearly £13m higher than a year earlier.

Belfast Telegraph