Coillte, the state forestry management company, has announced its 2022 financial results, revealing a new record high for revenues. Despite a decline in operating profit from €135m in 2021 to €119m in 2022, the company generated €479m in revenue with €157m in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation. Coillte attributed the growth in the construction sector to the strong demand for its products in the first half of the year. However, demand moderated in the second half of the year, resulting in a relatively solid financial performance overall.
Coillte paid a dividend of €27.7m to the State, which is the maximum payable under its dividend policy. Imelda Hurley, the chief executive of Coillte, said that the company had a “strong performance” in 2022 despite the “end market prices for wood and panel board products being down from the record high levels achieved in 2021”. Prices remained relatively strong in the first half of the year with robust demand evident in the construction and home improvement sectors.
However, the company is expecting 2023 to be more challenging due to inflationary costs and higher interest rates impacting the business. Ms Hurley stated that there is “no doubt” that the business is “seeing the effects of inflation and rising interest rates”. She added that these headwinds indicate challenging trading conditions and weaker consumer demand in 2023. Coillte reported planting over 20 million trees and replanted 8,300 hectares of forests during the year.
Coillte’s annual spend in its capital investment programme came to €86m in 2022, which is down from €94m in 2021. The company also revealed that a 10-year investment plan at its oriented strand board manufacturing facility in Waterford culminated in the successful commissioning of the €45m upgrade of SMARTPLY’s drying, energy and screening system. Coillte is Ireland’s largest forestry company, managing approximately 7% of the country’s land. It operates three businesses: forestry, land solutions, and wood products.
The company’s forestry business involves the management of over 440,000 hectares of forest land, which provides a sustainable source of timber for its wood products business. Coillte’s land solutions business provides land for renewable energy projects, recreation, and biodiversity. The wood products business manufactures and supplies a range of wood-based products for the construction, fencing, and furniture sectors. Coillte is committed to sustainable forestry management and has set a goal to plant 1 billion trees by 2025.