Kerry reports rise in sales in a challenging environment
Growth in Asia and developing markets helped Kerry overcome challenging UK and Irish environment
Kerry’s Denny and Charleville brands are facing intense competition from heavily discounted private label offerings. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Kerry Group grew its revenues by 2.9 per cent in the nine months to September 30th 2013, despite a “a challenging overall market environment”.
In a statement the group said that it is confident of delivering 8 to 10 per cent growth in adjusted earnings per share in 2013 to a range of 253 to 257 cent per share.
The food ingredients company reported a “highly competitive” environment in consumer foods in the UK and Ireland, with sales falling by 0.2 per cent. In Ireland, Kerry’s Denny and Charleville brands faced intense competition from heavily discounted private label offerings.
“Sales through ‘discounter’ retail channels and private label offerings continue to grow, adding to competitive marketplace pressures and structural changes in customer service,” Kerry said in a statement.
Outside of developed markets, Kerry continued to achieve solid growth and business development – particularly in Asia and EMEA developing zones. “Performance was assisted by successful integration of acquisitions and good results to date from continuing deployment of the Group’s 1 Kerry Business Transformation Programme,” the group said in a statement.
The group’s ingredients and flavours division grew by 4.1 per cent, outperforming market growth rates. Pricing increased by 1.9 per cent.
“Good growth was recorded throughout the group’s taste and nutrition platforms in food processor and foodservice accounts – in particular in developing markets,” the company said.
At the end of September, the group’s net debt stood at €1.2 billion, similar to that reported at the half year stage despite ongoing investment in development capital expenditure and footprint optimisation.
Its programme to integrate recent acquisitions, including Cargill’s flavours’ business, Millennium Foods, FlavourCraft, Big Train and Orley Foods, is nearing completion but the group said it will likely cost more than originally envisaged.
Construction of the the group’s new global technology & innovation centre in Ireland is “progressing well” and scheduled to open in Q1 2015. To expedite capability development at the centre, the group has accelerated the integration of R&D teams in Europe and recruitment to a leased facility adjacent to the site of the new centre.