Kerry Group sees 11.4pc growth despite soaring costs in dairy division


Irish food group Kerry has seen 11.4pc organic growth in the first three months of the year, despite heightened inflation.

olumes were up 5.6pc, with group organic growth up 12.9pc on a like for like basis, Kerry said in its first quarterly interim management statement of 2022 today.

The group’s margin on its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was up 10 basis points.

Costs are rising as a result of the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, with China’s recent Covid-19 lockdown weighing on the business.

The group’s taste and nutrition division – particularly meat, snacks and bakery – saw 6.8pc overall growth as retail and food service recovered in developed markets post-pandemic, despite prices increasing by 4.6pc to pass through rising costs.

Kerry’s dairy division saw 0.7pc volume growth, with prices up 18.7pc as a result of significant increases in dairy prices and raw material costs.

Dairy snacks, led by Cheestrings, saw the largest volume growth, with spreadable butter volumes lower.

Net debt was €2.3bn at the end of March, reflecting acquisitions, such as biotechnology company c-LEcta² and Almer² in south-east Asia.

In February, Kerry proposed a final dividend of 66.7 cent per share.

In its statement, Kerry said its markets “remain highly dynamic” and that the firm “remains strongly positioned for growth with a good innovation pipeline”.

It expects adjusted earnings per share to grow 5-9pc in 2022 on a constant currency basis.

Chief executive officer Edmond Scanlon said he was pleased with the results “despite challenging conditions in a number of markets”.

“As overall market conditions remain highly dynamic, we are actively managing the inflationary environment in close collaboration with our customers,” he said.

«As previously announced, we have taken the decision to suspend our operations in Russia and Belarus and we continue to work through the challenges presented in China since the introduction of localised restrictions.

«As we commence a new strategic cycle, the progress we’ve made positions us strongly for growth. We are reaffirming our full year earnings guidance.”


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