Kerry Foods’ frozen meals felt the impact of the horsemeat scandal in the first half of the year, while tough trading conditions in the UK and Ireland continued to impact sales, it has revealed.
The company posted a 12.2% rise in profit after tax to €117m in its half-year results today. Total group sales rose 1.1% to €2.95bn in the six months to the end of June.
Kerry’s consumer foods division saw revenue drop 5.8% to €830m. “Economic and fiscal pressures” in the UK and Ireland continued to affect consumer confidence there, Kerry said.
“While Kerry Foods’ products were unaffected by the Equine DNA issues which unfolded during the first quarter, confidence in some meat categories, including the frozen meals sector, was impacted which resulted in lower sales due to the underlying weakness of the market,” the company said in a statement.
Kerry said volumes in its chilled ready meals were unchanged, while its UK brands performed well, with Richmond, Wall’s and Mattessons achieving growth.
Revenues across EMEA fell 2.8% in the first half, Kerry said, with like-for-like sales down 1.2%. However, the company was buoyed by strong performances in North America, where revenue rose 6.2%, and Asia-Pacific, up 15.4%.
Kerry Group chief executive Stan McCarthy said: “Our global ingredients & flavours technologies and core consumer foods businesses are performing well. We remain confident of achieving our growth targets for the full year and delivering 7% to 11% growth in adjusted earnings per share to a range of 250 to 260 cent per share.”