Dairy co-operative Ornua has reported operating profit of 83m for 2020, a 69pc jump on the prior year, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Turnover increased by just 0.9pc to 2.3bn, according to annual results from the group.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of 107.4m were up 49.6pc year-on-year.
Ornua said the performance was achieved against the backdrop of a complex trading environment dominated by Covid-19, market volatility, and the macro-economic challenges of Brexit and punitive US tariffs.
However, it warns that this financial performance is unlikely to be repeated as the retail and foodservice landscape around the world re-adjusts to the re-opening of economies post-pandemic.
Ornua, which exports to over 110 countries, saw sales of its flagship Kerrygold products increase by 13pc year-on-year, selling over 10 million packets of butter and cheese a week.
In the United States, Kerrygold has become the preferred dairy brand for 10pc of consumers, establishing it firmly as the number two butter brand, according to the company.
Kerrygold butter continues to be the fastest selling brand on supermarket shelves in Germany.
In the UK, Pilgrims Choice outperformed the cheddar category with 29pc growth year-on-year, securing its position as the number two cheddar brand in the UK market, the co-op said.
During the year the co-op expanded its ingredients facility in North America, increasing growth capacity by 30pc.
Ornua delivered a 54pc year-on-year increase in the brand premium and bonuses paid to co-op members with a record 68.7m Ornua Value Payment.
John Jordan, CEO Ornua, said Ornua had a unique performance in a unique year, and we are pleased to report a record profit with operating profit of +69pc.
This performance delivers on our commitment to maximise returns to our member co-operatives and the 14,000 farmers who supply them.
Looking ahead, Mr Jordan said the co-op is cautiously optimistic about the gradual re-opening of economies as the global Covid-19 vaccine rollout gathers pace.
We have clarity on Brexit, and we welcome strong signals from the US on improved US/EU trade relations, he added.
Online Editors

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