Kerry pre-tax profits up 6%

Kerry pre-tax profits up 6%

Food group Kerry in preliminary annual results released this morning posted a pre-tax profit of €335.8m for 2009, up 6% on the previous year.

Group sales revenue in 2009 reported at €4.5bn, a 4.8% reduction on a like-for-like basis, the company said in a statement.

However the company said that continuing business volumes were 2.2% ahead. allowing for elimination of non-core activities, business restructuring and currency movements.

Adjusted earnings per share increased by 8.2% to 166.5c, while basic earnings per share increased from 101.3c to 115c.

The Kerry board has recommended a final dividend of 17.3c per share, an increase of 10.9% on the 2008 final dividend, the statement said.

This brings the total dividend for the year to 25c per share, an increase of 11.1% on the

previous year.

Kerry's Consumer Foods division, which produces brands ranging from Denny sausages to Low Low cheese. however suffered a 6.1% drop in revenues which it said was largely due to price-conscious Irish consumers choosing supermarket own-label products over brand names.

“The Kerry business model performed robustly in what was a challenging environment in 2009 – delivering excellent product and business development opportunities, good margin improvement and cash generation," said Chief Executive Stan McCarthy.

Looking forward, the company said it was confident of delivering earnings growth in 2010 to a range of 182c to 185c per share.

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