Kerry revenues rise 10%, predicts steady earnings

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Kerry Group's total dividend for 2012 up 11.2%

Food group Kerry said its sales revenue increased by 10.3% to €5.8 billion for the year ending December 2012.

Kerry said its trading profit increased by 10.8% to €555m, while profits after tax fell by 26% to €267m from €360.7m.

The firm said its restructuring programme would allow earnings growth to remain steady in 2013, despite a stronger euro and higher raw material costs squeezing margins in the first two months of the year.

Kerry said it expected EPS growth of between 7-11% this year, slightly ahead of its forecast at the same time in 2012.

For 2012, it said its adjusted earnings per share rose by 11.3% to 237.6 cent.

It said it was proposing a final dividend of 25 cent. When combined with the interim dividend of 10.8 cent per share, this brings the total dividend for the year to 35.8 cent, up 11.2% on the previous year.

Kerry, whose main brands here included Denny cooked meat, Low Low spreads and Cheestrings, said it had invested €186m in research and development during the year.

The group said its primary consumer foods' markets in Ireland and the UK remains highly competitive due to the adverse impact of economic conditions on consumer spending and the response of retailers through deeper and wider promotional activity.

However, it added that Kerry Foods maintained a satisfactory overall business performance through product innovations and ongoing business efficiency improvements.

See how Kerry shares performed in Dublin here.

Revenue at Kerry's Ingredients & Flavours business rose by 14% to €4.225 billion while trading profits increased by 15.1% to €506m. The division accounted for 71% of group revenue and 79% of group trading profits last year.

The company said that it saw solid growth in the Americas with good growth across major food and beverage units and foodservice providers, while it also continued to achieve ''excellent growth'' in Asia-Pacific markets. But it reported challenging economic landscapes in the Europe, Middle East and African markets.

Kerry's Consumer Foods division saw revenues rise by 2.3% to €1.712 billion, while trading profits inched 0.1% higher to €130m. The group said its markets in Ireland and the UK remain challenged due to the difficulty in cost recovery following significant raw material inflation.

Kerry's group chief executive Stan McCarthy said the company's business transformation programme is well underway, which will drive its future growth by exploiting the technologies and expertise of the organisation.

''We continue to invest in our technologies, innovation and nutritional expertise, and also in expanding our footprint throughout developing markets. In 2013, we expect to achieve 7% to 11% growth in adjusted earnings per share,'' he added.

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