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Company Report

LCC, formerly Lissan Coal Co and registered in Cookstown, is one of the most profitable Northern Ireland family-controlled businesses. It is a large and diverse business, distributing fuel oil and gas as well as related fuel products and equipment, and also engaged in the wholesaling and retailing of coal.

The group is a major importer and distributor of coal and oil in Ireland. It has also been increasing its share of the non-domestic gas market in Northern Ireland and has grown share of the non-domestic electricity supply market in the Republic.

LCC owned half of the voting share capital of LSS Ltd, a Northern Ireland-registered joint venture with Statoil Hydro ASA. That 50% shareholding was bought last year and this former joint venture is now consolidated in the overall results for LCC.

Turnover in 2016 at £585m represented a 6% increase on the results in 2015 and was higher than the previous record of £579m in 2013.

Operating profits have increased sharply to reach nearly £21m in 2016. Pre-tax profits, interestingly, have been slightly higher than operating profits in each recent year partly because of significant interest receipts and a share of profits from associate businesses which more than offset interest bills on borrowed funds.

Average employment - which had quadrupled from 43 people in 2005 to 176 in 2015 - rose further in 2016 to an average of 233 people.

Most post-tax profits are retained each year in the business. Dividend payments of £0.4m were allocated in each recent year. The balance sheet value of shareholders' funds rose by £16m in the year to September 2016, reaching nearly £103m at the year end.

Belfast Telegraph