Food processor Finnebrogue grows sales, profits and payroll in stellar trading year

Lynn's Country Foods chairman and director Denis Lynn
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE parent company of artisan food manufacturer Finnebrogue has revealed another major uplift in sales, profit and employee numbers as it consolidates its position a UK-leading supplier of top tier sausages, bacon and venison.

Downpatrick-based meat processor Lynn’s Country Foods, set up in the late 1980s by Denis Lynn, grew sales by 28 per cent to just shy of £78 million in the year to the end of September (up from £61.1 million), according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Gross profit soared to £20.5 million, while profit after tax came in at £4,480,422 against £3,228,138 the previous year.

Net assets at the end of the financial year also increased from £16.4m to £20.9m, the accounts show.

Lynn's principal brand Finnebrogue is the UK’s leading top tier sausage manufacturer and also produces venison, wagyu, bacon and ham products.

Its revolutionary Naked Bacon - the first mass produced rasher to be made without nitrites, the cancer-causing chemicals traditionally used to cure the meat - has transformed the UK bacon market, making a tasty and safer alternative available on a mass scale for the first time.

Finnebrogue used a combination of innovation and natural fruit and spice extracts to come up with bacon that doesn't require added nitrites (nitro-containing compounds, used in the manufacture of traditional bacons, are known to cause the formation of chemicals that have negative health impacts).

In October the revolutionary product earned Denis Lynn a top award for outstanding innovation when he was named the UK’s most innovative boss by the Institute of Directors.

Speaking at the time, he said: “Our incredible growth in recent years wouldn’t have happened without the drive, ambition and extraordinary abilities we have among a team who continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible.

“The launch of our naked bacon has been a brilliant success. Despite being the country's leading top tier sausage maker, we had never made a single rasher of bacon because we couldn't work out how to do it without adding nitrites. For more than a decade I have insisted we not touch bacon until we could make it better and safer – and I’m delighted we now have.”

In a strategic report accompanying the results, the directors say they expect the current level of activity at the company "to be sustained for the foreseeable future".

In the year to September the average number of employees at the company grew from 324 to 444, pushing up the wages bill from £8.7m to £11.3m.

But the overall directors' remuneration fell back from £883,153 in 2017 to £735,692 last year.

In January Finnebrogue announced a major diversification by opening a vegan and vegetarian factory at its Downpatrick base. The new facility will be capable of turning over £30 million a year and support 90 new jobs when at full capacity.

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