Annual results from Irish dairy ingredients group Glanbia reflected the weak international dairy markets, pushing down 2002 turnover from €2.6 billion to €2.3 billion. But the company said it had seen strong performances from its consumer foods operations during the year.
Sales were also impacted by Glanbia's decision to sell its UK consumer meats and foodservice distribution in July 2002.
Good progress is however being made in the newly organised nutritional ingredients unit and the company said it is well positioned for growth in this sector.
Commenting on the results, group managing director, John Moloney said: "Continued profit growth in our consumer foods and nutritionalingredients activities boosted operating margins. Our financial position alsoimproved significantly. Glanbia is better focused following restructuring and aprogressive exit from non-core businesses."
"Our 2003 priority is on delivering growth in particular in cheese,nutritional ingredients and in consumer foods with a nutritional emphasis. The Board believes that Glanbia will continue to make good progress in 2003."
Glanbia Dairies which is a leading supplier of branded milk products in Ireland achieved a 'satisfactory overall performance in a highly competitive marketplace' said Glanbia, benefiting from strong brand support, enhancedoperating efficiencies and continued focus on innovation and market development. The company said it will introduce a new range ofmilk-basednutritional and functional beverages in 2003, including Milk Plus, aprobiotic milk drink, which was launched in February.
The Food Ingredients division, which supplies cheese, nutritional products and dairy-based ingredients to markets world-wide, saw strong volume performance and progress in the USA whey technology-based nutrition business, whichincreased sales by 17 per cent. However, weakinternational dairy markets throughout 2002, which contrasted sharplywith thebuoyant market conditions experienced in 2001, significantly reduced theprofitability of Irish operations - the division's operating profit dropped to€30.05 million from €59.41million the prior year.
The US operation, which provides whey-basednutritional ingredients to domestic, Asian and European markets, has expanded its R&Dcapability with the opening of a new research centre in Twin Falls,Idaho andcommenced clinical trials of important new product formulations.SalibraTM 200,a new bioactive whey product containing immunoglobulins and lactoferrin,waslaunched in 2002 into the intestinal health market. Further capacity wasalsoadded to Provon whey protein isolates and Bioferrin lactoferrinproductionduring the year.
Glanbia is hoping that the new business unit for its international nutritional ingredients, set up at the end of 2002, will drive the group's development activities inthis growth sector.