Northern Ireland

Dale Farm profits up 16% on 2016

A Dale Farm employee checks out the new production line
Image caption The group's Chief Executive pointed to a recovery of global dairy markets for the boost

Dale Farm, one of Northern Ireland's largest agri-food businesses, made a pre-tax profit of £7.9m in the year ending March 2017.

The profit, which was up 16% on 2016, was achieved on turnover of £389m.

Nick Whelan, the group chief executive, said it was a solid performance "despite it having been a year of two halves".

He pointed to the recovery in global dairy markets as a boost in the second half of the year.

Dale Farm is a farmer-owned co-operative based in Belfast, with operations across the UK.

Its consumer brands include Dromona, Spelga and Mullins.

Mr Whelan said there had been a 12% increase in consumer sales, driven by innovation in product development.

He said the business was continuing to "evaluate the considerable opportunities and threats that Brexit will present".

He suggested Dale Farm would be able to benefit from import substitution after Brexit.