Global growth for Kerry Group

Sales revenue has risen to £2,117 million according to Kerry Foods’ latest half yearly statement despite surging energy costs.

The report, which showed an increase of 8.3%, also reveals a 6.2% rise in trading profit to £160 million.

Kerry Group chief executive, Hugh Friel, said,“In a highly competitive trading environment, the group performed well in the first half of 2005. We expect further business improvements in the second half, with an outcome for the full year in line with market expectations.

Kerry Foods is expanding its chilled ready meals business in the UK through the acquisition of Noon Group Ltd for £124 million. A producer of Indian, Oriental, Thai and a range of Asian ready meals and snacks, Noon operates from three facilities in south-west London, supplying major retailers.

The European ingredients markets, continued growth of premium categories in the prepared meals sector provided development opportunities for Kerry’s ingredients, flavours and culinary offerings. Though France remained difficult particularly in the highly competitive fruit preparations market, there was strong underlying growth in the UK, Germany and Italy.

In Europe, progress was achieved through protein hydrolysate applications in infant foods and nutrient therapy, and further advances in sports, dietetic, health and wellness markets. The acquisition of Fructamine in Italy last year has given a significant boost to Mastertaste in servicing the flavour requirements of savoury processors and carbonated beverage producers.

In the US, development in many food and beverage categories recovered slowly in the first half of 2005 following the decline in the low-carb phenomenon last year. However, syrup lines for beverages with major coffeehouse chains again benefited through new store openings. Expansion of the meat sector in South America also provided good growth for Kerry Brazil’s meat seasoning lines, along with continued development of the ice cream sector.

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