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Kerry Group Considering Options For UK And Ireland Dairy Business, Says CEO

Irish food and ingredients company Kerry Group is undertaking a strategic review of its dairy business in Britain and Ireland, which may lead to a transaction in the coming months, its chief executive has said.

The review would consider dairy production and consumer food assets with an annual revenue of around €900 million, CEO Edmond Scanlon said in an interview.

"We're taking a stand back and doing a strategic review. Evaluating several options. One of those options could lead to a transaction but may not lead to a transaction," Scanlon said, adding the process could take several months and may not conclude until the second half of the year.

Return To Growth

Scanlon's comments came as Kerry Group reported a return to volume growth in the fourth quarter of the year (+2.2%), while full-year revenue stood at €7.0 billion.

Volumes in its Taste & Nutrition arm were down 3.0% for the year (+0.7% in Q4), while Consumer Foods volumes were down 2.6% for the year (+8.8%).

The group reported trading profit of €797.2m (2019: €902.7m) 'due to the impact of COVID-19', it said, while group trading margin decreased by 100 basis points, to 11.5%.

Looking ahead to the coming year, Kerry said that it sees 'strong growth prospects' in its Taste & Nutrition business in the retail channel, with a 'continued recovery' in foodservice.

Elsewhere, its Consumer Foods business 'has a good growth outlook supported by continued innovation and the strength of our brands'.

News by Reuters, additional reporting by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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