Written Answers. - Coillte Teoranta Report.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

15 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he will make a statement on the recent annual report of Coillte Teoranta; and the Government plans for the future of the company. [17394/01]

I recently presented Coillte Teoranta's annual report and accounts for the year 2000 to the Government. Overall, the company's financial performance was strong last year. Profit was £20.12 million, an increase of 20% over 1999 and the best since Coillte's establishment in 1989. Total revenues for the year were £97.10 million, an increase of 10% over 1999. The volume of timber sold increased by 9% to 2.73 million cubic metres. In the sawlog category, the volume sold increased by 16% to 1.65 million cubic metres, due to strong demand arising from increased processing capacity. Revenue from timber sales increased by 8% to £66.52 million. Non-timber revenue was strong at £30.58 million, an increase of 12% over 1999, reflecting improved performance of Coillte's ancillary business units. Ancillary activities include nurseries, Christmas tree production, leisure facilities and overseas consultancy work.

Coillte has also recently successfully completed the Forest Stewardship Council certification pro cess. This certification verifies that Coillte's forests are managed in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
In relation to the future of Coillte, work is advancing on several key issues which follow on from the consultancy study on the company carried out by AIB Capital Markets and Merrill Lynch International. Copies of the study were circulated to Deputies shortly after its completion. One of the main recommendations of the study was that a development programme for the timber industry be put in place to create the desired market dynamic for the sector. The timber industry development group has been established by the Tánaiste and is working to this end. The group includes representatives of the stakeholders involved in the sector. The consultancy study also recommended a revised strategic plan and efficiency programme for Coillte and these are currently being put in place by the company. The Deputy may also be interested to know that the study recommended a retention of thestatus quo in relation to ownership of Coillte for the foreseeable future.
I will continue to review the position on an ongoing basis and in the light of the work being undertaken.