Food manufacturing drives “exceptional year” for cooking oil specialist Frylite

CO TYRONE cooking oil specialist Frylite has reported “an exceptional year” with pre-tax profits rising ten-fold in just 12 months.

The Strabane-based firm, which is still owned by founder Eamon McCay, now operates from six sites across the island.

The group’s latest set of accounts filed with Companies House show its turnover rose 83 per cent to £61.9 million for the year ending April 3 2022.

That helped the company’s profits bounce back from the impact of the pandemic, with pre-tax profits rising from £362,000 last year to a record £3.9m in 2022.

While Frylite’s customers traditionally include major players in the fast food and hospitality sector, from Burger King and KFC to hotels and restaurants, the group said its latest growth was driven by food manufacturers.

The food manufacturing sector has experienced significant growth in the north since the introduction of the Northern Ireland Protocol, driven by a sharp rise in orders across the border.

However, Frylite’s directors said stay at home dining during the pandemic was also a factor in the latest financial year.

The company also expanded its business during the reporting period, investing £2m in a new Lisburn depot.

While Frylite said the move would potentially create dozens of jobs, the latest accounts for the group show its workforce actually shrank by 28 to 211 in 2022.

Outside Strabane and Lisburn, the group’s sites include Coleraine, Galway, Cork and Dublin.

In commentary accompanying the accounts, the group’s directors described the year to April 3 2022 as “exceptional”, stating that it was “driven by growth and sales to food manufacturing businesses that grew during the pandemic with stay at home dining”.

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The directors said they continue to focus on maintaining the long term sustainability of the group by reinvesting profits back into the business.

“Plans for the future development of the group include using the profits to invest in a new processing and operational depot in Dublin, as well as investing in new vehicles, IT projects and new re-branding for the Frylite Group.

“The directors are committed the directors are committed to the long term creation of shareholder value by expanding operations and driving sales growth.”