Kerry Group reports profits boost

Food group Kerry has reported pre-tax profits of just under €298m for last year, up from €268.6m in 2004, as sales grew by 7% to €4.4bn.

Chief executive Hugh Friel described the performance as solid, saying 2005 had been a challenging year for the global food industry as raw material and energy costs jumped.

Adjusted earnings per share rose by 7% to 131.6c and a 15.8% higher final dividend of 11c has been declared. Excluding acquisitions, sales were up 4%, while trading profits increased by 7% to €380m.

Sales in the food ingredients business rose by 9% to €3bn, with profits also up 9% to €284m.

This reflected sales growth of 9% in Europe, 8% in the Americas and 16% in Asia.

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