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Beef processors profits boosted amid trading 'challenge'


Farmers have been staging protests following a slump in milk prices

Farmers have been staging protests following a slump in milk prices

Farmers have been staging protests following a slump in milk prices

A beef processor in Co Armagh has boosted pre-tax profit and maintained a major export drive amid a "challenging" trading environment.

C & J Meats, which is run by Colm Pyers and John McCann, increased gross profit to £1.12m from £0.787m, according to its financial statements and directors' report.

The firm, which is located close to Portadown, specialises in the supply of beef cuts and trimmings from premium steers and heifers.

Turnover was steady at £36.4m in the year to the end of November 2014, down slightly from £36.98m - while pre-tax profits quadrupled from £50,500 to £242,000.

Its report, filed recently at Companies House, said: "The directors consider the outcome for the year and the year end financial position to be satisfactory and to have been achieved in a challenging operating environment."

UK sales were up slightly, from £25.18m to £25.34m, while there was a small decrease in European sales from £11.8m to £11m.

And its workforce had increased by 10% from 53 to 58, made up of two directors, five administrative staff and 51 production workers.

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One new administrator and four new production workers had joined the workforce over the 12 months.

While the total salaries of the workforce came to £1.03m - an average of £17,797 - the two directors were paid a total of just £15,574.

The company, which is based in Kilmore, is a major exporter, sending its goods in refrigerated lorries to Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Spain, France, the south east of England and the Republic.

As a result, exchange rates were a risk as the company deals with its customers and suppliers in euro.

The strategic report said: "They mitigate this risk by having euro bank accounts and monitoring exchange rate fluctuations."

Materials pricing was another risk, the report said.

"The company operates in a competitive market for raw material with prices that are difficult to predict," it said.

"Market prices are monitored constantly by the direcctors to ensure the company retains its supply and maintains it margins."

And their outlook was positive overall. "The directors consider turnover, cost containment and margin as key indicators of performance in the business and will continue to focus on this going forward.

"Turnover is in line with the previous year, with an increase in gross profit margin and net profit margin achieved during the year."

The report also recorded an "arm's length" transaction involving the sale of goods to Kilmore Meats worth £358,748.

John McCann is a director and 50% shareholder in Kilmore Meats.