Kerry Group’s revenue reaches €6.4 billion in 2017

Kerry Group’s revenue reached €6.4 billion in the year ending December 31, 2017, reflecting business volume growth of 4.3% in the process.

This is according to preliminary financial results published this morning (Tuesday, February 20).

The group’s Taste and Nutrition business recorded revenue of €5.2 billion last year, an increase of 4.7% in volume growth. As well as this, its Consumer Foods business saw its revenue climb to €1.3 billion in the same period, an increase of 2.4% volume growth.

The group’s trading margin maintained at 12.2%. Meanwhile, basic EPS (earnings per share) jumped by 10.1% in 2017 to 333.6c.

The board has recommended a final dividend of 43.9c/share, an increase of 12% on the final 2016 dividend. Together with the interim dividend of 18.8c/share, this brings the total dividend for the year to 62.7c/share – an increase of 12% on 2016.

During the course of the year, the company’s shares traded between €64.18 and €94.30.

Commenting on the results, Kerry Group chief executive Edmond Scanlon said: “Kerry Group delivered strong top line growth and sustained business development in 2017.

Adjusted earnings per share increased by 5.5%, reflecting 9.4% growth over the prior year on a constant currency basis. In 2018, we expect to deliver adjusted earnings per share growth of 6% to 10% on a constant currency basis.

Kerry achieved a strong volume driven business performance above market growth rates in 2017, reflecting the group’s foundational technology capabilities and speed of innovation in response to consumer and customer requirements, according to a preliminary statement.

The global marketplace continues to change at an unrelenting pace, it added.

Despite Kerry Foods maintaining a strong category and business development focus in the group’s UK and Irish consumer foods markets – benefiting in particular from the increased snacking and ‘food-to-go’ consumption trends – the underlying satisfactory divisional business performance was impacted by adverse sterling exchange rate movements.

Business performance

Revenue – on a reported basis – increased to €6.4 billion, reflecting strong volume growth offset by adverse currency movements. This increase in revenue represented a jump of €300 million compared to 2016 figures.

The group’s business volumes grew by 4.3% year-on-year.

Net pricing increased by 2% against a background of approximately 4% raw material price inflation, the preliminary financial statement confirmed.

The group achieved a free cash flow of €501 million in 2017, a rise of €69 million compared to the previous year.

During last year, a total of eight acquisitions were completed by the group at a cost of €397 million; the acquisition of Hangman Flavours in China was completed shortly after year end, the statement added.

Kerry Group’s net debt at the end of year totalled €1,341.7 million in 2017, an increase of €18 million compared to the previous year.

Impact of Brexit

The company’s Business Brexit teams continue to work through the potential implications of Brexit.

Sterling mitigation plans are well progressed, as the group continues to restructure less profitable businesses, execute the KerryExcel cost optimisation programme and reduce transaction currency exposure.

Kerry is confident that it is “very well positioned” to deal with the potential challenges, while also realising the opportunities that will arise from Brexit – given its well established manufacturing footprint in the UK and in the Eurozone.

Prospects

At the beginning of April of this year, the group’s Annual Report will be published and the Annual General Meeting will be held in Tralee on May 3, 2018.

Despite the changing market landscape and significant currency volatility, the group is confident that Kerry businesses are well positioned to continue to grow and develop profitability.

It is believed that the company is “in a strong position to continue to invest in the organic growth of its global businesses and to lead the continued consolidation of the industry benefiting from the group’s strong balance sheet and scalable business model”.