Co Armagh producer posts £8.7m pre-tax profit after surge in market value of pigs

Dartan Hall Holdings reports 39% rise in sales as it confirms double acquisition in England

Pig snouts visible under a metal fence in a pig farm.
Dartan Hall Holdings said it experienced increased profitability in 2023 due to the increase in the market value selling price for pigs. (Getty/Getty Images)

A major Co Armagh meat producer has revealed how the rising market value of pigs contributed to a £14 million swing back into profit last year.

New accounts for Dartan Hall Holdings, the parent group of JMW Farms, show its sales increased by £39m (39%) to £129.5m in the year to September 30 2023.

The company, owned by brothers Jim and Mark Wright, had ended the previous year with a pre-tax loss of £5m.

The improved selling prices for pigs saw the group produce a profit-before-tax of £8.7m in the latest financial year.

Based in Killylea in Co Armagh, the Dartan Hall group also includes two farm businesses in Dorset and a cross-border operation in Ballybay, Co Monaghan.

Commentary from Jim Wright, published alongside the Dartan Hall accounts, states: “During the year the group experienced increased profitability due to the increase in the market value selling price for pigs sold, coupled with a decrease in raw material costs needed for feedstuffs.

“However the group remain committed in their drive for efficiencies within the cost base of all companies.

“Continued and ongoing research and development has benefited the group.

“The group has also benefited from significant capital works carried out in recent years, which has resulted in increased volumes coming forward.”

The Wright brothers’ business interests continued to expand in the past six months, with the acquisition of pig trading company Belmont Farms, and renewable energy firm Green Generation (UK) Limited.

It’s understood both companies, which are based in Leicestershire, had been owned by the Costello family from Tuam in Co Galway.

Dartan Hall Holdings, which is the holding company for the Wright brothers’ business interests was incorporated in July 2018, less than a year after the Dartan Hall country manor and its 100-acre estate in Killylea was sold at auction for £1.73m

Alongside its core pig producing business, Dartan Hall’s interests include construction, metal fabrication and energy production.

The latest group consolidated accounts show £111.3m of revenue in 2023 was derived from the UK market, up from £77.8m in 2022, while overseas sales increased by £3m to £18m last year.

The improved profitability left the group with a £2.6m tax bill for its 2022/23 trading year.

Dartan Hall’s businesses employed 241 people at the end of September 2023, with its wage bill of £8m rising by 5% last year.

The new company also revealed a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions produced last year.

Total gross tonnes of CO2 emissions rose by 33% to 7,227 tonnes.