Irish dairy and ingredients group Glanbia has said its 2008 performance will be in line with expectations ahead of its full-year results in March.

The group said earnings per share would be up 17%, in line with forecasts, despite what it called an “increasingly volatile “ global dairy market and declining prices.

The consumer foods and agribusiness divisions both saw improved performance over 2007, although sales at its Irish ingredients division is likely to be static after being “significantly impacted by the steep decline in world dairy prices and… the imbalance between market pricing and raw material cost”.

“2009 is set to be a very challenging year given the severe impact of the ongoing economic and financial turmoil on both developed and emerging economies,” said Glanbia managing director John Moloney.

“In response to this, we continue to critically examine our cost structures including, as previously announced, a €16m rationalisation programme across our businesses to remain cost-competitive.

“In the context of the current unprecedented financial, dairy market and economic uncertainties we are very cautious at this early stage of the year. However, we remain focused on achieving the market consensus earnings growth for 2009.”