Kerry Group sees strong recovery in third quarter

Relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions boosts group’s food service business

Kerry Group said its business saw strong recovery in the third quarter of the year as the relaxation of restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 boosted its food service business.

Kerry also reinstated its guidance for the year. The group had pulled its full-year earnings guidance in April as the coronavirus pandemic hit food-service sales.

The company said it saw volume reduction of 4.7 per cent group-wide in the nine months to September 30th, with a 2.1 per cent decline in the third quarter. The group’s reported revenue decreased by 4.5 per cent, and pricing increased by 0.3 per cent. At the end of September, net debt was €1.8 billion.

"This year has seen unprecedented variability and complexity across our industry. The agility and ingenuity of Kerry's teams in adapting to these changing conditions has contributed to Kerry's strong recovery in the third quarter, which was in line with previous guidance," said chief executive Edmond Scanlon.


“In the foodservice channel, we have seen a strong recovery since April, as restaurants reopened and adapted their operations and menus to cater for increased consumer demand for takeaway, online and delivery. Performance in the retail channel remained strong, primarily through growth in authentic cooking, plant-based offerings and health and wellness products.”

In the taste and nutrition business, overall year to date volume reductions were 4.4 per cent, reflecting continued recovery, with the third quarter showing a decline of 1.9 per cent.

Kerry’s European business saw volumes improve significantly in the third quarter, with the foodservice sector showing a strong broad-based recovery across the region and good growth in the retail channel for beverages, snacks and meat.

The Americas region saw business volumes continue to recover, with the third quarter declining 2.8 per cent. The Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region returned to growth during the third quarter, increasing its volumes by 0.2 per cent.

The group also reached a deal to acquire Bio-K Plus International probiotics in Canada and Chinese savoury taste company Jining Nature Group during the third quarter.

The group also launched a startegy outlining its sustainability targets that will be key to the company’s growth strategy.

“As we continue to manage through these unprecedented times, we expect to continue our recovery in the final quarter and return to volume growth, while today we also resume providing full year earnings guidance,” Mr Scanlon said.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist