Profits at biofuels group ClonBio up 24 percent despite ‘record cost inflation’

Irish-owned biofuel and renewable energy group ClonBio has announced record profits of €111 million for 2021, thanks to improved prices for its key ethanol and animal feed products and expansion into new markets.

The result was a 24 percent increase over last year’s profit, despite what the company called “record cost inflation” for corn, gas and electricity.

However, Clonbio said trade was “challenged” this year due to volatility in commodity prices, higher energy and transport costs and a poor harvest in Hungary, where the main refinery is located.

“Climate change, the war in Ukraine and the looming energy crisis underscore the need for food chain resilience, energy security and rapid progress on decarbonisation,” said Chair Richie Boucher, former chief executive of Bank of Ireland.

Clonbio has been on a mergers and acquisitions spree for the past two years, plowing €100 million into a variety of technology, manufacturing and agribusiness investments to expand its product range and capabilities. The company also has a separate €200 million investment program that runs from 2020 to 2022.

CEO and founder Mark Turley said the spending would make Clonbio a leading producer of biogas in Ireland, Hungary, Slovenia and Serbia.

He said the company’s “most transformative” recent investments were a new barley factory in Hungary to produce protein for human consumption and its involvement in Ireland’s Green Generation through a joint venture with green entrepreneurial family Costello.

Green Generation provides food waste solutions for Irish businesses by converting organic waste into biomethane. It also recycles plastics into new products instead of disposing of them through incineration.

Green Generation has an agreement with Tesco to separate and recycle its groceries and associated plastic packaging in Ireland. It is also the only biogas producer in Ireland to feed biogas directly into the BNE grid.

The joint venture plans to expand Ireland’s business model to other markets in continental Europe.

Clonbio’s main asset is Pannonia Bio, its wholly owned Hungarian subsidiary, which produces organic products from local grains. This includes high-quality non-GMO proteins, bioethanol, animal feed, biogas and organic fertilizer.

The company said it will increase its workforce to 500 by the end of the year after completing 2021 with 365 employees.

Its 65-strong team of engineers and R&D professionals work on new products, including soluble and insoluble protein concentrates and isolates, and fiber-derived products, primarily for nutrition

Mr Turley said supply chain, energy, transport and commodity inflation challenges would likely continue into 2023.

“Despite these challenges, we are optimistic about ClonBio’s breakthroughs in alternative proteins, some of which we believe will come to market during 2022, and we are confident that 2022 will see further significant advances in the development of new, higher quality sustainable products while supporting nutrition will deliver chain resilience, energy security and the green transition,” he said. Profits at biofuels group ClonBio up 24 percent despite ‘record cost inflation’

Fry Electronics Team

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