However, the Irish state-owned forestry and timber corporation faces controversy over the Irish government’s decision to partially merge Coillte and state land and natural resources company Bord na Mona to form a wind energy and biomass joint venture.

In its annual results, Coillte reports 2013 profits after tax at €25.8m with turnover up 5% by €13.5 to €275m.

Operating profits were up €6.3m to €41.3m on the back of increased sales volumes and higher panel prices.

Acting chief executive Gerry Britchfield said the first half of the year was tough, with the UK market exiting slowly from recession, but significant improvement followed.

But Coillte’s timber customers are taking a less upbeat view of its joint biomass and energy venture.

"We are concerned that this new venture will have a negative impact on sawmillers, farmers and private forestry growers," said Mike Glennon, director of Glennon Brothers, which has mills in Ireland and Scotland. "There are currently only two core markets for Irish residue and pulpwood and the plan will reduce this to a single monopoly, choking the market."