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Disposals help DCC Energy reach £8.5m in profits after sales fall

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DCC owns self-service petrol stations across Europe and is the largest distributor of home heating oil in the UK

DCC owns self-service petrol stations across Europe and is the largest distributor of home heating oil in the UK

DCC owns self-service petrol stations across Europe and is the largest distributor of home heating oil in the UK

Oil products and LPG company DCC Energy has increased pre-tax profits by 77% from £4.8m to £8.5m after the disposal of assets, its latest accounts show.

The climb in pre-tax profits came despite a 62% slump in turnover from just under £170m to £64m at the firm based at Airport Road West in Belfast.

Its parent company is DCC, a Dublin-based FTSE-100 business with interests across fuel and energy, technology and healthcare.

The company results for DCC Energy were signed off on March 25 but make no reference to the impact of Covid-19.

A spokesman for DCC said there would be no updates until DCC preliminary results for the year to end March are published in mid-May

During the year to the end of March 2019, DCC Energy made just under £4.8m on two major disposals.

At the end of April 2018, it sold some of the trade assets of the oil distribution division of the business to Co Londonderry company Nicholl Oils.

Also in April 2018, it sold its petrol products storage terminal in Belfast to Valero Logistics UK Ltd. The net gains of the sales were £9.6m.

Staff numbers at DCC Energy also fell during the year, from 152 to 39, with the company's pay bill going from £5.3m to £2m.

DCC owns self-service petrol stations across Europe and is the largest distributor of home heating oil in the UK.

In a strategic report accompanying the results for DCC Energy, the company said it regarded the results for the year and the position of the company at year end to be satisfactory "given the impact of the challenging economic environment on the company's target markets, combined with relatively mild winter temperatures".

The strategic report said that the year ahead would focus on increasing profitable turnover, through organic growth and acquisition.

It added that its investment programme during the year had been directed towards the development and upgrading of its processing and distribution facilities.

The report also said that among the risk factors facing the company were "the possibility of the fluctuating price of oil products from both a global perspective, and possible increases in domestic taxes which will have a negative impact on demand... The company continues to be vigilant against these and other risks while maintaining its market share".

The company said performance in the sector was affected by general economic conditions, with directors carrying out regular reviews of competitor activity, market trends and forecasts and customer behaviour.

DCC has made a number of major acquisitions in recent years, including Florida-based Ion Laboratories.

Other major acquisitions over recent years include LPG distributor Retail West for £152m, US nutritional company Elite One for £35m, technology company Jam for £130m, UK technology group Stampede and US tech firm Kondor for £110m, and Esso's Norwegian retail operations for £235m. In May 2019, DCC revealed four more acquisitions, in the US, Germany and the Netherlands, for a combined £90m.

DCC was founded as a venture capital business in 1976 before developing into an operating group. It switched its listing from Dublin to London in 2013.

Belfast Telegraph