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Irish food group Kerry Group (KYGA) saw revenues rise 4.7% in the first half of the year and has raised full-year earnings guidance as it benefits from growth of snacking and convenience.

Overall revenues increased by 4.7% to €3bn on a reported basis, while business volumes grew by 2.7% thanks to strong performance in American markets, an improved performance in the EMEA region and continuing growth in Asia despite a slowdown in some regional markets.

However, currency tailwinds also contributed heavily to growth, representing a positive 8.4% translation impact to revenue.

Net pricing was 2.7% lower against a background of approximately 6% lower raw material costs. Ingredients & Flavours saw 3% volume growth, while Kerry Foods’ volumes grew by 1.9%.

Kerry said this morning: “While improved economic conditions in the Irish and UK markets have boosted spend in some consumer categories, food and beverage segments remain highly competitive due to increased retail fragmentation and channel diversification. However the restructured Kerry Foods’ portfolio is performing well - benefiting from snacking and convenience trends.”

Based on year-to-date performance and current exchange rates Kerry has increased its full year guidance by 1 percentage point and now expects to achieve 6% to 9% growth in adjusted earnings per share to a range of 296 to 304 cent per share in 2015.

Morning update

Majestic Wine (MJW) has announced this morning that CFO Nigel Alldritt will step down from the board at today’s AGM and will leave the business on 5 November 2015.  He will be replaced by, effective tomorrow, James Crawford, currently finance director of Naked Wines the online international wine specialist recently acquired by Majestic.

Kerry shares have slipped 0.7% to €70.94 this morning after its half-year update. However, the shares were 1.4% up yesterday and are 22.4% up so far this year.

Elsewhere, we’re firmly in the holiday season and market announcements remain few and far between.

The FTSE 100 has opened 0.3% down to 6,730.7pts this morning. Associated British Foods (ABF) has opened 1.5% down to 3,187p, while Sainsbury’s (SBRY) has fallen back 1.6% to 263p.

Yesterday in the City

The return to food inflation reported by the British Retail Consortium-Nielsen Shop Price Index yesterday boosted the share prices of the food retailers yesterday.

Tesco (TSCO) was in the FTSE 100’s top ten risers, climbing 2.2% to 215.4p. Sainsbury’s was 1.1% up to 264.7p, Morrisons (MRW) was 1.7% up to 183.9p and M&S (MKS) rose 1% to 549.5p. Ocado (OCDO) was also up 2.6% to 406.4p.

The FTSE 100 generally was 1% up to 6752.4pts boosted by a number of strong corporate earnings releases and a rebound in mining stocks.

After a tough recent run Diageo (DGE) experienced a bounce yesterday, rising 1.7% to 1,821p. Coca-Cola HBC (CCH) also bounced back from heavy falls earlier this week, rising 1.5% to 1,287

The day’s few notable fallers included Just Eat (JE), down 1.9% to 415p, and SSP Group (SSPG), down 1.4% to 301p.