Kerry Group’s business acquisition prospects remain strong for the coming year, according to its chief executive Edmond Scanlon.

Scanlon was confident that strong acquisition activity witnessed in 2017 would continue into the coming year as he presented the group’s preliminary financial results yesterday in Dublin.

Also Read: Kerry Group’s revenue reaches €6.4 billion in 2017

During last year, a total of eight acquisitions were completed by the group at a cost of €397 million.

Since year end, Hangman Flavours in China, SIAS in China and Season to Season in South Africa have all been added to Kerry’s portfolio.

On the subject of acquisitions, Scanlon said: “As well as growing organically, we have continued to invest in acquisitions. We’re exciting about these 11 acquisitions that we have made in the last 12 months. We have made five acquisitions in the last 12 months in developing markets.

We’ve made three in China, one in Brazil and one in South Africa – and our acquisition pipeline remains strong. We’re particularly excited about an acquisition called Ganeden, just to mention one, that brings with it a unique probiotic technology.

“With the fragmentation in our sector, we still see many opportunities for consolidation – and the opportunity is significant to leverage both our business model and also Kerryconnect.

“We see ourselves continuing to lead out the consolidation in our sector,” he said.

The chief executive outlined that the group “doesn’t really set targets” for itself by region for acquisitions.

“I think it is fair to say that we’ve made more acquisitions in Asia in the last 12 months than we have, I would say, ever.

That certainly wasn’t planned, that’s just the timing of these things. Our acquisition pipeline remains strong across all regions. I probably don’t see as many in Asia in the coming year, just going by what the pipeline looks like.

“It will probably be more balanced across both developed and developing markets this year. It is very hard to predict the timing of these acquisitions,” he concluded.