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'Challenges' lead to fall in profits at Belfast agri group Devenish

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‘Solid’ results: Richard Kennedy

‘Solid’ results: Richard Kennedy

‘Solid’ results: Richard Kennedy

Pre-tax profits at Northern Ireland agri-tech firm Devenish have fallen by 55% to just under £760,000 after a year which brought some challenges, the company has said.

Devenish (NI) Ltd said group turnover was up 2% to £228m for the year ending May 31, 2019.

Operating profit was flat at £3.6m - however, profit before tax was down to £757,000 "after increased interest charges", the company said. Profit before tax a year earlier had been £1.66m.

Chief executive Richard Kennedy said the financial results were "solid".

The company is based in Belfast but has sites across the UK, Ireland, USA, Turkey and Uganda.

It has 500 staff carrying out research and development in health and sustainability throughout the food chain.

Mr Kennedy said: "We are pleased to report a solid set of financial results, achieved during a time that was not without significant challenge, in particular the prolonged period of economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

"Due to our future-focused strategy, the commitment and talent of our people and our ongoing reinvestment into growing our business, we have maintained our position and look forward with confidence to the opportunities ahead."

He said the company had made significant reinvestment during the year.

The group's research farm at Dowth, Co Meath, carries out research into sustainable agriculture and food production.

Devenish said its work there is aimed at helping food producers cope with the challenges of climate change.

It added that it had been investing heavily in new and emerging markets during the year, with a particular focus on establishing and growing a presence in Latin America and Africa. The company was set up in 1952.

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