Greencore beats forecasts as operating profits rise 8.1%

Food company posts full-year revenues of £1.1bn despite impact of horsemeat scandal

Greencore has reported an 8.1 per cent rise in full-year profits despite limited growth in retail food markets and the negative impact of the horsemeat scandal.

The convenience food maker posted full-year revenues of £1.19 billion (€1.4 billion), a 3 per cent increase on 2012 and operating profits of £76.5 million up 8.1 per cent.

In a trading statement, Greencore said revenues at its convenience foods division increased by 3.5 per cent to £1.12 billion, while adjusted earnings per share were 13.3 per cent higher at 14.5 pence.

The company said UK market conditions proved challenging with lower market growth in chilled food than in previous years. This was exacerbated by the impact of the horsemeat scandal on demand in the chilled ready meals market.

In the US, reported revenues were more than 60 per cent higher than last year as a result of the MarketFare and Schau acquisitions and the commencement of a multi-site, multi-year supply arrangement with Starbucks.

"We consolidated our portfolio after the extensive deal activity of the three preceding years, increased revenue at our US business by over 60 per cent and realigned our resources behind a food to go led strategy," chief executive Patrick Coveney said.

“All this was achieved despite a weak UK consumer environment, limited growth in retail food markets, persistent input cost inflation and the negative impact of the horsemeat scandal,” he added.

Greencore announced a final dividend of 2.9 pence per share, an increase of 12.9 per cent versus 2012.