Coillte, Ireland’s largest forestry and land solutions company, has announced a 64% increase in profits for 2015 on the year previous to €47.6m.

Its annual results for 2015 show that the company delivered record earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €89.6m up 12% on the previous year.

Meanwhile, operating cash flow at €6.5m was up 48% on 2014 and the Group reported a significant decrease in Group net debt by €22.2m to €154m.

Chief Executive of Coillte, Fergal Leamy said that the Group is pleased with its financial and operational performance in 2015, which showed excellent progress across a number of key areas and is a really good start towards achieving Coillte's new five-year strategy to turn Coillte into the best forestry and land solutions company in Europe.

[caption id="attachment_121188" align="aligncenter" width="728"]Coillte Fergal Leamy Coillte CEO[/caption]

"The three businesses that have been created are very well positioned in the markets they operate in.

"Our core forestry division has the potential to be a European leader as the market for timber and fibre doubles over the next 10 years.

"Our Land Solutions business has created a significant platform to be a leader in renewable energy and our panels business, recently rebranded as Medite Smartply, has the assets and products to be the number one value-added player in the markets for MDF and OSB."

We have a great opportunity to deliver a consistent positive cash yield and return to our shareholders from these three businesses while at the same time maintaining the public benefits we provide.

The Coillte strategy sets out an ambition to become the best forestry company in Europe by taking a leadership position in the industry, playing a key role in the market, helping generate a long-term cash yield for the Group of 5% and being recognised as a dynamic employer at the leading edge of forest technology.

In October 2015, over two days, Coillte sold in excess of 900,000m3 of roundwood worth over €50m through its timber sales system which offers Coillte customers a one year fixed volume contract for approx. 50% of their volume alongside the current, auction based method of sale for the balance of supply.

Also last year, in July, Coillte successfully completed the sale of its telecoms mast business, generating a pre-tax gain of €62.6m.

In renewable energy, 2015 was a breakthrough year for the business as Coillte reached financial close on three renewable energy projects with an investment value of approximately €350m.