Coillte has recommended a record €30m dividend to the Exchequer after recording its highest-ever level of revenue last year.

Higher prices and strong demand for timber saw revenues at the State's forestry company reach €422m in 2021, up 48% on 2020.

That pushed its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to €159m – more than double the amount earned a year earlier.

Its operating profit, before exceptional items, stood at €124m – more than three times its level in 2020.

Meanwhile its operating cash flow more than trebled to €73m.

Coillte’s results come a week after it announced a major new strategy for the land it manages, which will see it expand carbon capture, forestry planting, biodiversity and recreational facilities between now and 2050.

Last year it also started the redevelopment of the Avondale Forest Park in Co Wicklow, and established a joint venture with the ESB to deliver 1GW of renewable energy by 2030.

"During 2021, end market prices for timber and panel board products reached record levels, driven by high demand in the construction and home improvement sectors," said Coillte CEO Imelda Hurley. "Pricing was also influenced strongly by a global supply and demand imbalance which created a series of supply challenges in key markets.

"When taken together, these factors resulted in Coillte achieving a record financial performance in 2021."

However Coillte also warned that this year’s results were likely to be significantly lower than those achieved in 2021.

It said demand for wood products remained strong the impact high inflation would have on its cost base was of "significant concern".

It also said that the war in Ukraine and the subsequent geopolitical tensions could have a difficult-to-quantify influence timber markets as well as the economy in general.

"While there are many unknowns, the company anticipates that its financial returns in 2022 will reflect a material reduction on the record high levels achieved in 2021," the company said.