Kerry reaffirms growth targets

Kerry reaffirms growth targets

Geoff Percival

Kerry Group has maintained its earnings growth forecasts for this year and reiterated its ability to spend further on acquisitions.

Kerry Group has maintained its earnings growth forecasts for this year and reiterated its ability to spend further on acquisitions.

In a trading update, coinciding with its AGM in Tralee, Co Kerry, the food and ingredients group reported a solid start to the year, with business volumes up 3.7% year-on-year in the first quarter.

It said that it still expects adjusted earnings per share growth of 6% to 10% for 2018 as a whole.

Volumes in the core taste and nutrition division grew by 4.3%, but the lesser performing consumer foods unit also saw growth of 1.6%.

Solid growth was evident in Europe and north America, while volumes neared double-digit percentage growth territory in the Asia-Pacific/ Middle East and Africa regions.

“We are pleased with the start we have made to 2018, which is in line with our expectations as communicated in February.

“The group continued to deliver healthy volume growth and underlying margin expansion.

“The acquisitions completed over the past year are performing well and integration is progressing to plan,” said chief executive Edmond Scanlon.

Kerry said that it closed the first quarter with net debt unchanged at €1.3bn.

“The group’s consolidated balance sheet remains strong, which will facilitate the continued organic and acquisitive growth of group business,” Kerry said in its trading update.

Last month analysts suggested Kerry could have the ability to spend over €1bn on acquisitions this year, despite its earnings likely to be hit by Brexit- related currency headwinds.

The group’s shares increased by nearly 1% yesterday.

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