The suspension of peat harvesting and redundancies linked to the move away from their traditional working practices has led to exceptional costs of over €65 million, according to the Bord na Móna annual report today.

The midlands-based company, which employs up to 2,000 workers, let go hundreds of employees on voluntary severance packages and recorded a net loss of €22.5m.

But it still reported an operating profit and is cash stable, according to its chief executive.

 "Last year we announced that Bord na Móna is in the business of climate action. This means demonstrating how we are leading in, supporting and implementing national policy as we build a new sustainable business", Bord na Móna CEO Tom Donnellan said.

"Our green, sustainable operations already generate a significant amount of our revenue and as the Brown to Green strategy progresses towards its stated conclusion, they will come to define and sustain Bord na Móna," he added.

The new Bord na Móna Brown to Green strategy involves an expansion of existing low carbon businesses involved in renewable power generation, recycling and resource recovery.

Through the fiscal year 2020 (FY20), the company's Powergen Development unit accelerated its development pipeline.

Oweninny I windfarm in Co Mayo became operational. Cloncreen and Oweninny II windfarms moved to preconstruction, and a range of other projects entered and progressed through the planning and development process.

Bord na Móna said its Resource Recovery Business Unit also reported significant progress, significant expansion and in partnership with Sabrina Integrated Services (SIS), launched Ireland's only farm plastics recycling facility on the site of the former peat briquette factory in Littleton, Co Tipperary.

"The Brown to Green strategy involves a phased, multi-year programme of activity. Last year we reported on the first stage which saw the company consolidate and simplify its traditional business, manage the challenges to our remaining peat operations and cut the overhead cost structure of the company by 40%," Mr Donnellan said.

"The completion of stage one of the transition to a low carbon business in FY20 generated a number of costs in the reporting period. These costs are reflected in the company's net loss of €22.5m for FY20 and €65.9m of exceptional costs.

"It is especially noteworthy that the financial stability of the company is evidenced in operating profit (before exceptional items) remaining steady at €40.4m, the €23.9m reduction in net debt and the year-end positive cash position of €1m."

Beyond FY20, Bord na Móna said it continues to operate in a challenging business environment that was further complicated by the onset of the global pandemic.

Also commenting on the results, Bord na Móna Chairman Geoff Meagher said: "These results show Bord na Móna at the beginning a new chapter in its existence.

"From renewables to peatland rehabilitation and resource recovery, Bord na Móna is providing a range of low carbon solutions to the Irish economy. In doing so we are turning the decarbonisation narrative into a good news story for people in our local communities and across Ireland."