Pre-tax profits at the Co Meath based Lir Chocolates last year more than doubled to €1.04m.

The German-owned chocolate maker recorded the 115% increase in pre-tax profits in spite of revenues sustaining a 14% hit due to Covid-19.

The new accounts to the end of December last show that revenues last year declined by €3.8m from €27.46m to €23.65m.

A large contributor to the doubling in pre-tax profits was 'other operating income' of €757,112 appearing in the company's profit and loss account.

This is made up of the business receiving Covid-19 wage subsidy support of €719,438 during the year and a Government training grant of €37,674.

The company's pre-tax profits were also boosted by finance income of €154,879 that did not occur in 2019.

The company’s operating profits last year increased by 19% from €836,646 to €996,966.

Without the Covid-19 subsidy wage scheme income paid out to the company’s employees and the Government training grant, the company’s operating profits would have been €239,854 for the year.

According to the directors’ report on the impact of Covid-19, the company’s financial forecasts, taking into consideration the current environment, show that the company is expected to remain profitable.

The figures show that the UK remains the company’s strongest market while the company’s Irish business sustained the biggest percentage drop in revenues last year.

The company’s UK business declined by 12% from €20.12m to €17.77m while the company’s Irish revenues declined by 61% from €2.5m to €966,396 last year.

The company’s rest of world revenues increased marginally from €4.83m to €4.9m.

The directors said that in 2021, Lir management will continue to focus on improving sales and profitability and exploring relationships with further customers.

Numbers employed by the company reduced by 30% from 245 to 171 as staff costs reduced from €8m to €6.7m.

The largest hit to employee numbers took place in production where numbers employed reduced from 219 to 150.

Directors’ pay reduced from €590,185 to €457,250.

The company’s profits last year take account of non-cash depreciation costs of €1.25m

At the end of December last, the company had shareholder funds of €7.2m that included accumulated profits of €2.3m.

The company’s cash funds almost doubled from €2.72m to €4.98m.