FAMILY-owned Omagh milk business Strathroy Dairy enjoyed another rise in sales in the year to last July, newly-published accounts show.
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But its bottom line profits were hit after the firm’s cost of sales rose by more than £5 million over the year, and its total tax charges increased by £100,000

Latest accounts for the business, which processes and supplies dairy products across Northern Ireland and the Republic, show that Strathroy’s turnover rose from £77.4 million to £83.6 million – virtually double the firm’s sales of just eight years ago.

The company, run by brothers Ruairi and Cormac Cunningham, saw gross profit lift to nearly £7.6m from £6.8m the year before.

But profit after all taxes and expenditure slipped back from £521,627 in 2018 to £403,952 last year.

The company’s staff numbers rose slightly over the year from 148 to 151, and its overall wages bill lifted from £4.4m to just shy of £5m, which included additional pension costs of around £65,000.

Strathroy Dairy, which supplies milk, buttermilk, butter and cream to caterers and retailers, can trace its history back to 1850, while its current name was first used in 1923.

It has operations in Cavan, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Sligo in the Republic of Ireland as well as its main production facility in Omagh.

The accounts were audited before the coronavirus outbreak, and in their strategic report the directors said they were “satisfied” with the performance.

But like so many businesses, it is likely to suffer in the current trading year as a result of the pandemic, given that a significant part of its supply chain takes in the restaurant and hospitality sector across the entire island of Ireland.

The company processes more than 100 million litres of milk from farms in the Republic every year and the same volume again from Northern Ireland farmers.

Around three quarters of its dairy products are sold in the Republic, with most of them rebranded and sold by supermarkets such as Lidl, Aldi, Spar and Londis.

Strathroy has spoken in the past about the like headaches it will have from Brexit, given that as an all-island company it has milk travelling across the border in both directions, round the clock.

In dairy risk management, one size does not fit all. Throughout recent history, a number of dairy-related risk management programs, some available through private crop insurance providers and others available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), have been designed to fill gaps in protection against market risk and uncertainty.

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