Revenues had increased by 0.9% in the three months leading up to March 2016.
Chairman Michael Dowling said: “I am pleased to report that there was a strong performance by all our businesses in 2015, despite the demands of a changing marketplace and a slowdown in economic growth in many developing markets.”
Its Taste & nutrition division saw 3.1% business volume growth in the quarter while pricing fell by 1.5%. Markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa remained challenging with a 0.2% growth relative to the first quarter in 2015.
It said growth in business volume came from greater demand for improved nutritional food and beverage offerings.
Demand for nutritional food
The Consumer Foods division saw success in UK and Irish food markets with business volumes up by 2.1%. Its Sharwoods brand did well in the frozen meals sector, while Mattessons grew in the meat snacking category.
The manufacturer’s Cheestrings product sold well in the children’s cheese snack sector. The UK private spreads category continued to lose market share to block butter and heavily promoted branded offerings.
“Overall trading conditions remain highly competitive,” said chief executive Stan McCarthy.
“This was due to retail competitiveness arising from market polarisation and fragmentation, the growth of e-tail and deflationary trends.”
Kerry Group’s European meat industry was stagnant, while dairy taste technologies performed “satisfactorily despite the significant downturn in dairy market returns”.
Net debt at the end of March was €1.6bn (£1.2bn) compared with €1.7bn (£1.3bn) at year-end.
“The board is confident of delivering 6% to 10% growth in adjusted earnings per share to a range of 320 to 332 cent per share in 2016 as previously guided, taking into account a 4% currency headwind at current exchange rates,” the statement said.
Kerry Group at a glance
- 2.9% growth in business
- Up to 10% growth in adjusted earnings
- 2.1% business volume growth in UK consumer food