Kerry Group has enjoyed a buoyant year, with preliminary results for the year ending 31st December revealing group revenue of €6.4 billion.
The overall 4.3% business volume growth year-on-year was offset, according to the group, by adverse currency movements, reflecting its “adaptability” to the global marketplace’s current demands.
The group’s Taste & Nutrition division jumped 4.7% in volume growth, at €5.2 billion, along with Consumer Foods, which was up 2.4%, at €1.3 billion.
Trading margin was maintained at 12.2%, reflecting 20 basis points improvement in Taste & Nutrition, while basic earnings per share increased by 10.1% to 333.6 cent.
Looking at the UK, the group revealed a “solid performance […] against a background of inflationary food trends and continuing uncertainty” after the Brexit vote.
Kerry Foods’ business volumes also grew by 2.4%, and despite “some lag in price recovery” in response to the impact of sterling depreciation on products exported from Ireland to the UK, pricing increased by 2%.
In addition, snacking occasions continued to drive strong category growth in the meat and cheese categories, with the rebrand of Richmond having a “positive impact in the UK sausage category”.
Kerry Foods’ grocery dairy business maintained growth in what was described as a “challenging” category environment.
In the chilled and frozen ready meal ranges, the manufacturer outperformed market growth rates, driven by an “ongoing focus on enhanced nutrition, lower calories and salt, and clean label declarations – with a number of range relaunches and an increasing presence in health and ‘free from’ segments”.
Sales revenue in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region increased by 6.2% to €1,537 million on a reported basis, reflecting 4.2% volume growth.
The meat industry across Europe provided “good opportunities for growth through retail and foodservice applications”, Kerry said, along with dairy and culinary technologies, which achieved “solid growth”, in particular in the foodservice sector through seasonal QSR applications including appetisers and desserts.
Commenting on the results, Kerry Group chief executive, Edmond Scanlon, said: “Kerry Group delivered strong top line growth and sustained business development in 2017. Adjusted earnings per share increased by 5.5% reflecting 9.4% growth over the prior year on a constant currency basis. In 2018 we expect to deliver adjusted earnings per share growth of 6% to 10% on a constant currency basis.”