Revenues up 2.4% at Kerry Group as shares give up 1.6% in London

Results of food group meet market expectations as it shrugs off challenging environment

Kerry Group’s new innovation centre, in Millennium Park, Naas, Co. Kildare. The company said today that it is on schedule to open by the middle of 2015. (Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES)

Kerry Group’s new innovation centre, in Millennium Park, Naas, Co. Kildare. The company said today that it is on schedule to open by the middle of 2015. (Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES)

 

Irish food and ingredients group Kerry grew its revenues by 2.4 per cent to € 5.8 billion in 2014, despite a challenging macro-economic landscape and the impact of geopolitical issues.

Pre-tax profits soared from €121.9m in 2013 to €555.6m in the year to December 31st 2014, as the group’s trading profit advanced by 5.3 per cent to €636m.

The group’s ingredients & flavours division grew sales by 3.4 per cent to € 4.3 bn, although sales in consumer foods fell by 0.7 per cent to € 1.5 bn.

Chief executive Stan McCarthy said that 2014 was “another year of good growth, business margin expansion and an 8.1 per cent increase in adjusted earnings per share in 2014”.

“The consumer environment across developed and developing markets is changing rapidly but Kerry is well positioned to capitalise on global growth opportunities. We expect to achieve another year of good growth in 2015,” he said.

Kerry Group is “actively progressing the divestiture of the remaining assets held for sale at year-end” the company said, which likely includes the prospective sale of its bakery business Pinnacle. The company said on Tuesday that plans to divest this business, which has annual sales of about €160m, are “advanced”.

The group increased its expenditure on research and development to € 197m, and said that its new Kerry Global Technology & Innovation Centre in Co. Kildare is “well advanced and on schedule to be fully operational by mid-year 2015”. This development will also include the group’s global centre of excellence for nutrition.

Kerry Group will pay a final dividend per share of 31.5 cent, pushing its total 2014 dividend up 12.5 per cent to 45 cent.

In a note, Davy Stockbrokers said: “Solid 2014 results highlight the group’s capacity to deliver underlying volume growth and margin advancement, notwithstanding tough market conditions”.