Kerry American ingredient sales rise 6% for half year

by Jeff Gelski
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TRALEE, IRELAND — Sales revenue for the American ingredients markets for the Kerry Group, P.L.C. was €644 million ($879 million) for the half year ended June 30, which represented 6% like-for-like growth.

The frozen complete sauces sector and the granola bar sector achieved strong volume growth. Trans fat replacement provided growth opportunities. Kerry’s savory technologies performed well in the U.S. and Canadian markets, especially in meat seasoning in the red meat market and coating systems for poultry and seafood applications. Volumes were lower in the ice cream sector because of the impact of dairy raw material prices.

Companywide, the Tralee-based Kerry Group reported sales revenue of €2,332 million, or like-for-like revenue growth of 5.6% reflected to the first half of 2006 when taking into account acquisitions, business disposals and exchange rates effects due mainly to the weaker U.S. dollar. Adjusted earnings per share, before intangible amortization and non-trading items, were 58.8c, up a little more than 7%.

"We have successfully managed continued input cost inflation through cost recovery and business efficiency programs and expect a good outturn for the year," said Hugh Friel, chief executive for the Kerry Group.

The board declared an interim dividend of 6.1c per share, an increase of nearly 11% from the 2006 interim dividend of 5.5c per share. The interim dividend will be paid on Nov. 23 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 19.

Sales revenue for the food ingredients, flavors and bio-science businesses of The Kerry Group increased a little more than 4% to €1,611 million. Like-for-like growth was 5.9%.

In Kerry Bio-Science, the trend toward products and ingredients labeled as all-natural provided growth opportunities. Mastertaste flavors benefited from demand for salt reduction and calorie reduction and thus recorded strong development in its taste modulation technologies in savory and beverage applications in American markets.

In European markets, sales revenue increased 4% to €656 million, which reflected like-for-like revenue growth of 3.6%.

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