Carbery has insisted that its ingredients division performed strongly in 2009 despite a sharp reduction in group turnover.
The Irish manufacturer of cheese and food ingredients, including flavours and whey-based dairy ingredients, reported a 9.9 per cent drop in overall turnover to €183.6m for the year ending 31 December.
Carbery attributed the decline to a range of factors including lower commodity prices caused by continued dairy market volatility, a more challenging demand environment, and currency fluctuations.
Despite this, the company was upbeat about the performance of its ingredients. Carbery said the dairy ingredients business performed robustly in sectors such as infant nutrition and performance nutrition across the globe.
Along with Dairygold, Glanbia, and Kerry, Carbery is investing in the long term potential of this market through the Food for Health Ireland (FHI) initiative.
Carbery is one of the founding members of the Irish group, which brings academic and government research organisations together with industry to mine milk in search of new functional food ingredients.
As for the flavours side of the Carbery business, which operates through the Synergy division, the dairy co-op said performance was strong in established EU and US markets as well as new markets in South East Asia and South America.
Investment in research and development has also been maintained in flavours, as Synergy continues its work with the North Carolina State University (NSCU).
Carbery said the results of this research will prove invaluable in the development of clean tasting whey protein products and in providing a “unique toolkit” for Synergy in flavour engineering.
Commenting on the results for 2009, Carbery CEO Dan MacSweeney said the ingredients division as a whole drove profitability growth in 2009.
In addition to recovering from a pre-tax loss of €0.8m to profits of €2.7m, EBITA was up from €2.4m in 2008 to €6.2m last year.
MacSweeney said: “Carbery Group is now a strong and diversified food business with a large international focus. This strategy, pursued over the last ten years, has reduced our dependence on the volatile dairy market.”