Forestry company Coillte has announced record earnings of €98.3m for 2016, an increase of 10% on the previous year.

Coillte said its revenues for the year amounted to €287.7m - another record high.

Operating profit before exceptional items and revaluations gains came in at €64.4m, up 6.6% from €60.4m in 2015.

The company also said it has significantly increased its operating cash flow to €15.2m, more than double the previous year's level. 

Historically operating cash has been negative or breakeven, it pointed out, but said it is targeting a doubling of operating cashflows over the next two years to increase returns to the shareholder.

Meanwhile, the dividend paid to the State increased by 24% in 2016 to €6.2m.

Coillte's chief executive Fergal Leamy said the company made considerable progress towards achieving its ambitious financial and operational targets last year.  

Mr Leamy said a key focus of the company's new strategy is to grow operating cashflows so that it can increase the return to its shareholders. 

"The significant growth in operating cash gives us further confidence that we can achieve our 5% cash yield target by 2020 and we have set ourselves the challenge of more than doubling operating cashflows in the next two years", the CEO added.

Coillte manages a forest and land estate of over 440,000 hectares, which is equivalent to approximately 7% of the country's land.