2011 Economic Performance

Group turnover increased by €8.7m (3%) during 2011 to €259.1m. Demand for logs remained strong as Irish sawmills consolidated their position in the UK market when a number of factors, including exchange rates, restricted the supply of sawn timber into the UK from Scandinavian countries. Demand for panel products and, in particular our MDF products, was very strong in Europe as the Group continued to diversify as a hedge against end market weakness in the UK and Irish markets. Log prices remained relatively stable in 2011 and despite weakness in UK and Irish markets, both MDF and OSB prices increased. Export sales account for 57% of turnover and 67% of this figure was sold into the UK market.

Operating profit before exceptional items fell from €46.1m in 2010 to €41.5m in 2011. The increased contribution from sales was offset by an increase in input costs, mainly electricity, resin and wood residue costs. Profit after tax fell from €32.1m in 2010 to €19.9m in 2011.

Key achievements in 2011 included:

  • Profit after taxation of €19.9m resulting primarily from strong log prices in Ireland and improved prices for our panel products in the UK and other export markets
  • Group debt was successfully re-financed
  • €10m dividend paid to shareholders
  • Revenue from new products hit €12.5m, demonstrating the value of our investment in innovation
  • Cost savings of €4.4m achieved as a result of transformation programme
  • Planted approximately 14m trees on 5,641 hectares and built and upgraded 375km of forest roads, representing an investment of €34.5m in renewing and developing the estate
  • Launched Medite Tricoya, the world’s first fully weatherproof 'Extreme Durable MDF' wood panel product, developed in partnership with Accsys Technologies
  • SmartPly Europe Limited was nominated in the Export Category in the HSBC European Business Awards
  • Planning permissions granted for wind farms in Cloosh Valley in County Galway and Sliabh Bawn in County Roscommon
  • World class sustainability credentials endorsed with achievement of 10 years of forest certification and its retention for a further 5 years
  • First biomass supply contract signed with Astellas Pharmaceuticals in County Kerry
  • Our Native Woodland Restoration Project, part of the EU LIFE Programme, was recognised by the European Commission as being in the top 6 projects in Europe in 2011
  • Network of Mountain Bike Trails extended to 5 with the opening of the first purpose built trail in the Dublin Mountains

For a detailed description of the company's financial performance and for more information on how each of our Divisions performed please see our Annual Report 2011.

Business in the Community Ireland
External Commentary: Coillte Sustainability Report 2011

We welcome the publication of the third Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Report issued by Coillte and commend the company on keeping the commitment indicated in last year’s report to have this report externally audited and report at B+ level. The report once again demonstrates Coillte’s on-going commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices particularly in the area of the environment.  The importance that the company places on communicating and listening to its stakeholders is also evident.

Setting targets and outlining future plans is essential both to drive action and commitment in this area but also to demonstrate achievements.  We welcome Coillte’s intention to move towards setting more targets building on their good work in the area of measurement.

We congratulate Coillte on reaching ten years of forest certification and retaining this certification for a further five years. However, as noted in last year’s report, some stakeholder concerns do exist with regard to forest certification. We continue to recommend that Coillte use stakeholder feedback more widely throughout future reports.

Once again, this year, the commitment of Coillte in the area of biodiversity and protection of Ireland’s natural resources with which it has been trusted, is a strong focus in the report. 20% of Coillte’s estate is now managed primarily for biodiversity which is to be praised. We welcome in particular the role that the company is taking in the restoration of raised bogs in Ireland. The continued commitment that Coillte is making in the area of biodiversity research as part of the PLANFORBIO project is also to be praised. Linked to this is the important social responsibility that Coillte acknowledges it has in relation to the ecosystem services provided. We look forward to the publication of the research that was carried out in 2011 which aims to establish a monetary value for these public goods and seeing how this can inform future plans in this area. 

We would also welcome some information on the area of sustainable procurement as part of the reporting process.

There is a wealth of information in this report covering an impressive range of activities. We would strongly encourage keeping reports as user friendly as possible. The use of infographics, visuals and more case studies throughout would help in making the report accessible. A simple guide early in the report outlining the report sections and what they address would be useful. It would also be worthwhile explaining terms like biodiversity.

Business in the Community Ireland highly commends Coillte for advancing the responsible business agenda across the organisation and we very much look forward to continued engagement with the company on these important issues.

Tina Roche
Chief Executive
Business in the Community Ireland

Brendan McKenna           Chairman
David Gunning                   Chief Executive