Profits bounce back at Lurgan manufacturer Avondale Foods

Avondale Foods in Lurgan saw profits surge back in the year ending March 2020.
Ryan McAleer

LURGAN-based food firm Avondale declared a pre-tax profit of just under £7 million last year, new accounts show.

Profits at the company, which supplies some of the UK and Ireland's biggest supermarkets, tumbled to just half a million pounds in 2019 due to a legacy tax liability.

Avondale paid HM Revenue and Customs £1,458,900 in the 2018/19 financial year following a long-standing enquiry arising from earlier payments to two employee benefit trusts and a special purpose trust.

Free of those liabilities last year, the company, founded by brothers Harry and Derek Geddis in 1965, saw pre-tax profits take off in the year ending March 31 2020.

That was despite turnover remaining relatively static at £63.1m.

Avondale specialises in fresh packaged food produce, manufacturing vegetable accompaniments, wet salads such as coleslaw and potato salad, fresh soups, sauces, dough balls, porridge and noodles for distribution throughout the UK and Ireland.

The company trades under its own brand name Country Kitchen, but also makes products sold under brand names agreed with major supermarkets including Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

The directors said the company continued with “a significant investment regime” in 2019/20, increasing capacity and “making ready for new product opportunities in line with the company's strategic goals”.

The reporting period includes just the initial days of the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.

The document, the directors note the pandemic had impacted Avondale's operational environment, creating a short-term risk.

“The directors closely monitor the ongoing pandemic, taking all steps necessary to mitigate risks where possible and are very positive in continuing to navigate through the challenge successfully,” states the report.

The year ending March 2020 saw the company's workforce increase slightly to 499 people. However, the annual wage bill for staff fell by almost £2m over the 12 months.

The report states that dividend of £267,170 were paid for the period, well down on the £2.95m paid a year earlier.

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