Kerry has seen a satisfactory Q1 with flat sales growth

Kerry has seen a satisfactory Q1 with flat sales growth

Shares in Kerry Group fell 2% today (1 May) after the Irish company reported slowing sales growth from both sides of its business.

The company said its underlying sales rose 3.3% in the first three months of the year. Sales of ingredients and flavours - the majority of Kerry's revenue - were up 4.4%. Revenue from consumer foods inched up 0.2%.

In 2013, Kerry saw underlying sales grow 4.6%. It enjoyed a 5.9% increase in underlying ingredient and flavours sales and a 1.3% rise in sales of consumer foods.

Kerry said today it had seen a "sluggish start" to 2014 but had seen its performance improve during the first quarter.

It said the consumer foods markets in the UK and Ireland "remained highly competitive with increased market fragmentation in response to consumer trends", with sales through discounter channels continuing to grow.

Kerry reported "solid growth" of the Richmond brand and Mattessons Fridge Raiders but said the pastry channel and chilled ready meals proved challenging. Customer branded dairy spreads achieved "good growth", the group said.

Kerry maintained its guidance for 2014 of achieving 6% to 10% growth in adjusted earnings per share to a range of 273 to 284 cent per share in 2014.

Shares in Kerry closed down 1.95% in London and were 2.75% lower in Dublin.

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