Sandwich maker Around Noon takes another giant bite out of Irish food market

Around Noon chief executive Gareth Chambers and chairman Howard Farquhar
Gary McDonald Business Editor

NEWRY-based bakery Around Noon has taken another giant bite out of Ireland's food-to-go market by revealing a mouthwatering set of results in which sales, profit and shareholders' equity all rose.

Figures filed at Companies House show that the company, which started life around the Chambers family kitchen table less than two decades ago, had sales of £17 million in 2018, a 2.6 per cent increase on the year before.

Its gross profit came in at £3.5 million against £2.7 million in 2017 (the gross profit margin for the year was 20.6 per cent against 16.2 per cent previously).

After expenses and taxes, bottom line profit for the year was £601,972 - nearly double that of the previous 12 months (£305,611).

The company continues to increase its assets base, with nett shareholders' equity for the year rising from £919,101 to £1,211,735.

The financials underline the spectacular rise of the company, which makes upwards of 70,000 products a day across dozens of major brands, including hand-made sandwiches, wraps, salads, snacks, bakery items and natural juices.

Around Noon was founded in 1989 by currently chief executive Gareth Chambers' mother Sheila and has experienced significant growth in recent years, adding a London manufacturing base to its existing headquarters in Newry, as well as acquiring a Dublin-based bakery.

Gareth and fellow director and chairman Howard Farquhar completed a management buyout of the business in 2016 and has completely rebooted the business in terms of ambition and growth.

Last year it had 234 staff on its payroll, according to its accounts, and its wages bill was £5.6 million, which included just under £200,00 directors' remuneration.

A food fanatic and a passionate leader, Gareth Chambers is a multi award-winning businessman, including being a finalists in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, and he has a vision to eventually lead Around Noon to £100m in turnover.

Earlier this month Around Noon was listed as the seventh fastest-growing privately owned food and beverage companies in the UK in the Food & Beverage Fast 50 report produced by global advisory firm Alantra and published by The Grocer magazine.

With annual sales growth of 46.2 per cent, Around Noon was the highest-placed Northern Ireland-based company in a listing which offers a glimpse into how the most agile brands are exploiting the fast-moving marketplace.

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