Kerry American ingredient sales rise 7% in year

by Eric Schroeder
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TRALEE, IRELAND — Sales revenue for the American ingredients markets for the Kerry Group, P.L.C. was €1,310 million ($1,979 million) for the year ended Dec. 31, which represented 7% like-for-like growth.

Kerry said considerable progress was achieved in broadening its "go-to-market" strategy to include all the company’s food and beverage ingredients, bioscience and flavors businesses operating in American markets. Specifically, Kerry mentioned demand for natural, healthy foods has spurred strong growth for its ingredient systems in the ready-to-eat cereal and nutrition sectors.

"While growth in the nutritional bar market plateaued, synergies through Kerry technologies led to satisfactory growth in the category," the company said. "In the bakery sector, assisted by the Custom Industries acquisition completed in 2006, Kerry grew market share through its sweet ingredient technologies, emulsifiers, enzymes and natural high fiber ingredients. Sweet applications in the U.S. ice cream market were adversely impacted by lower sectoral sales as a result of the significant increase in dairy raw material prices."

Companywide, Tralee-based Kerry Group reported sales revenue of €4,787,766, or like-for-like revenue growth of 6.7%. Adjusted earnings per share, before intangible amortization and non-trading items, were €137.4, up from €0.96 in fiscal 2006.

"Kerry achieved a good all-around business performance and solid organic growth in 2007 notwithstanding the inflationary input cost environment," said Stan McCarthy, chief executive for the Kerry Group.

The board recommended a final dividend of 13.9c per share, an increase of 11.2%. Together with the interim dividend of 6.1c per share, this raised the total dividend for the year to 20c per share, an increase of 11.1% on the previous year. The interim dividend will be paid on May 23 to shareholders of record as of April 18.

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