Dr. Noel Cawley, IDB's managing director, said earlier this week that the board's 2004 turnover increased 4.5 per cent to €1.896 billion, compared to the previous year, while pre-tax profits increased 3.8 per cent to €37.9 million.
He attributed this growth to the burgeoning demand for Kerrygold-branded products and what he called a "strong performance" from its overseas subsidiaries, which accounted for 42 per cent of the board's turnover.
In Germany, its subsidiary IDB Deutschland successfully managed to maintain the sales momentum of Kerrygold-branded products - despite a sluggish German economy, while Loyez Woessen, its French butter packaging subsidiary, strengthened its position as one of the country's major butter suppliers.
In the US, sales of Kerrygold-branded products, particularly butter and Swiss, Dubliner and cheddar cheeses, increased by 30 per cent.
Conversely, overall sales of Kerrygold-branded products increased 5.2 per cent, on the back of reduced availability of dairy commodities from some of the key international exporters - New Zealand, for instance.
The board said that DPI, its US distribution service, had become one of the US' largest speciality food distribution services (the subsidiary's turnover came in at €605 million, a 16.8 per cent increase over the previous year) and deals with major US multiple retailers had helped it secure the Kerrygold brand a prominent retail positioning.
Dr. Cawley said that reforms in EU intervention support prices and WTO trade liberalization would present further challenges to the IDB, but added that it was in "top-class shape".
"The Irish Dairy Board will continue to grow its branded and food ingredient business and exploit all opportunities for added value Irish dairy products in international markets," he said.