Northern Ireland

Dairy Produce Packers sees fall in annual pre-tax profits

A major Northern Ireland food business has seen its annual pre-tax profits hit by the global rise in milk prices.

Dairy Produce Packers, based in Coleraine, is the UK's biggest manufacture of cheese slices, supplying customers like McDonalds.

The firm's pre-tax profit for 2010 was just over £6m, down from more than £14m in 2009.

Turnover increased from £131m to £136m, but raw material costs leapt from £76m to £86m.

The firm is ultimately owned by the Kerry Group which is one of Ireland's biggest agri-food businesses.

Earlier this year, Kerry Group posted pre-tax profits of £337m on turnover of more than £4bn.

The directors of Dairy Produce Packers said the performance of the business had been satisfactory.

The company employed 416 people in 2010, up from 388 the year before.