Kerry, the global taste & nutrition and consumer foods group, has reported on its business performance for the first quarter ended 31 March 2021.
Commenting, Edmond Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer, stated: “We saw significant variability and highly dynamic market conditions right across our end use markets, channels and regions. Against this backdrop, I am very pleased with the business momentum we saw as we moved through the quarter. Our performance reflected sustained strong growth in the retail channel, while the foodservice channel continued to be impacted by increased restrictions in many local markets, before returning to growth in March. APMEA delivered strong growth throughout the period, Europe was impacted across the region, while the Americas had a strong finish to the quarter.
The good business momentum has been supported by an increase in the level of innovation in a number of key markets. This momentum combined with an overall improvement in market conditions, gives us increased confidence in the full year outlook, where we are expecting to achieve strong volume growth and are guiding adjusted earnings per share growth of 11 – 15% in constant currency.”
Global markets have seen at-home consumption remain elevated with an evolution in work practices and daily routines. The overall recovery in the foodservice channel slowed in the period before showing good signs of recovery as many countries advanced their vaccine roll-out programmes. Prevailing trends include a demand for health and immunity enhancement, plant protein options, and products addressing a diverse range of sustainability criteria.
In the period the Group had business volume growth of 1.9%, a pricing increase of 0.5%, an adverse transaction currency impact of 0.2%, contribution from business acquisitions of 1.0%, and an adverse translation currency impact of 6.7%, resulting in a reported revenue decrease of 3.5%. Group trading margin decreased by 50bps, reflecting ongoing Covid-related costs and an adverse foreign exchange impact.
Meanwhile, the Board has approved the appointment of Mr. Michael Kerr as a non-Executive Director with effect from 3 May 2021. Michael has over 36 years of investment management experience having recently retired after a long and successful career with Capital Group, one of the world’s oldest and largest investment management organisations. He will bring to the Board a detailed knowledge of the global equity capital markets, extensive business leadership skills and insights into the North American market.
Ms. Joan Garahy, having served as a Director for nine years, retired from the Board of Directors and is succeeded by Dr. Hugh Brady as Senior Independent Director and by Mr. Tom Moran as Chair of the Remuneration Committee.
Concluding, Edmond noted that the strategic review of its dairy-related businesses in Ireland and the UK is ongoing, and noted that overall, the Group expects to deliver strong volume growth and adjusted earnings per share growth in 2021 of 11% to 15% on a constant currency basis.
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