Sales and profits soar at firm of fallen tycoon Sean Quinn

Outside the Quinn Industrial Holdings Group base in Derrylin are operations director Kevin Lunney (left) and chief executive Liam McCaffrey
Gary McDonald Business Editor

CONSTRUCTION supplies and packaging business Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), made up of elements of the former business empire founded by fallen tycoon Sean Quinn, has delivered its fourth successive year of strong double digit growth in 2018.

The company, based on the Cavan-Fermanagh border, said turnover rose 15 per cent from €209 million £181m) to €240 million (£207nm), mainly driven by volume growth on the island of Ireland.

And this represents an increase of almost 50 per cent from that achieved prior to the acquisition of the old Quinn Group businesses by QIH shareholders in December 2014.

QIH, which comprises the two key divisions of Quinn Building Products and Quinn Packaging and operates from 12 sites including Derrylin in Co Fermanagh and Ballyconnell in Co Cavan, has had capital expenditure over the past four years of more than €45m (£38.9m), including €21.7m (£18.7m) last year.

This included spending on further fleet and mobile plant replenishment, as well as the acquisition of additional raw material reserves, sufficient to meet its expected raw material requirements for the next generation.

And despite significant cost inflation, particularly related to energy and distribution in the latter part of the year, its earnings before interest, tax depreciation & amortisation increased by a further 10 per cent to €26.4m (£22.7m), helped by further volume growth and improved distribution efficiencies.

Employment numbers now stand at 830, representing a cumulative increase of 28 per cent (180 staff) since QIH acquired the businesses.

QIH chief executive Liam McCaffrey said “Our growth trajectory since December 2014 has continued apace in 2018 with turnover, EBITDA and investment up strongly.

“Having stabilised and substantially re-invested our building products and packaging businesses and sustained and grown local employment, our focus has now shifted to future development and expansion opportunities.

“Despite the continued uncertainty of Brexit, we are focussed on growing the business in both the UK and Ireland. Trading for both our building products and packaging businesses is strong this year to date, and we are confident of further growth for both divisions during 2019.”

Chief financial officer Dara O'Reilly added: “Despite currency and Brexit uncertainty we saw continued strong earnings growth and investment in 2018. Notable headwinds in the period included a relatively weak sterling exchange rate and significant cost inflation in the latter part of the year, mainly driven by energy and fuel costs.

“Given a time lag in cost recovery from customers, these inflationary pressures had some short-term margin impact in 2018 which we expect to see reversed in 2019. Additionally, efficiency measures, including investment in an IT platform to optimise loading and delivery, is expected to drive both margin growth and customer satisfaction levels.”

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