Coillte announces record revenues and operating cash for 2017
Coillte, Ireland’s largest commercial forestry and land solutions company, today announced its annual results for the financial year ended 31 December 2017. Coillte reported another record year of transformation and growth. The company delivered a strong financial performance in 2017 and exceeded each of its key strategic performance metrics. Most notably Coillte doubled its operating cash from €15 million in 2016 to €30 million in 2017. Excluding large land transactions EBITDA increased by 6% from €80.3 million in 2016 to €85.2 million in 2017. When large scale land transactions are included EBITDA achieved was €85.2 million in 2017 compared to €98.3 million in 2016. The company has now reduced its reliance on large scale land transactions. A record revenue of €298.7m was achieved, 3.8% ahead of last year. Coillte has started to see real benefits emerge from the restructuring of its business to three autonomous business divisions with annual overhead savings of €16 million realised in 2017 including €2.6 million interest cost savings achieved following the more favourable financing facilities agreed at the end of 2016. Overall, operating profit before exceptional items, large land transactions and revaluation gains increased by 3% to €48.7 million. A dividend of €8.0 million was paid to the shareholder, which represents a 29% increase on last year and is the fifth consecutive year of dividend growth.
Commenting on the results the Chief Executive of Coillte, Fergal Leamy said: “This is the third year of our transformation programme and we are making very strong progress on our key financial and operational metrics. The company has now reduced its reliance on large scale land transactions and, excluding these transactions, our EBITDA in 2017 was 6% ahead of 2016. Our key focus in recent years has been on generating, sustainable operating cash flow and increasing the return to our shareholder. Significantly we doubled our operating cash performance in 2017 to €30 million. This continued growth in operating cash is crucial to ensuring we achieve a 5% cash yield on our €1.4 billion asset base by 2020.
Our core forestry division has made strong progress towards being the best forestry business in Europe. This is reflected in our 2017 performance which has seen the highest level of both sales and forest establishment in over 10 years. In March of this year we announced the commencement of a process for the sale of our wind farm assets and confidently set a price target of at least €125 million, five times our original investment. Our potential in this area illustrates the value we can create from every hectare of land we own to ultimately deliver enhanced value for our shareholder, the State. We intend to recycle the capital achieved from the sale of our four operating wind farms back into the business with a focus on our core forestry activities, co-funding of new wind development opportunities and other strategic opportunities that will enhance the overall value of the Group.The business is seeing good momentum in 2018 with a strong performance in the first quarter. This is a crucial year for Coillte as we expect to see a step change in earnings following an intense phase of organisational restructuring and investment. Despite the uncertain backdrop of Brexit we are well positioned for strong growth in all of our key financial metrics as overheads reductions from our organisational restructuring are fully realised along with value creation from our recent significant investments in our forestry technology , wind farm portfolio and MEDITE SMARTPLY manufacturing facilities.”
See further details of Coillte’s 2017 results at: