Irish ready-made meals supplier Greencore returned to profit for the full-year boosted by a strong performance in the firm’s convenience division.

For the year ended 24 September, Greencore made a profit of EUR34.5m (US$47m) compared to a loss of EUR8.4m in the prior year. The manufacturer said trading in its convenience foods division was “very strong” in the year with operating profit from continuing operations 21.1% ahead of 2009.

Group operating profit climbed 17.6% to EUR59.7m, while sales rose 6.9% to reach EUR856m.

Patrick Coveney, group chief executive said: “We have made enormous progress in reshaping our group into a focused, growing convenience food business this year. This is reflected in the strong sales, margin and profit growth in the results of our continuing business announced today. Furthermore, an effective disposal programme has dramatically reduced group net debt and provides the basis for further development in convenience food.”

Looking ahead, Greencore said trading in the early part of 2011 is “encouraging”, albeit with sales growth at “more modest levels than recorded during FY10”.

Assuming an average EUR/GBP exchange rate in the 2011 financial year in the range of 0.85 to 0.88, the group expects to deliver “strong growth on a continuing basis in FY11”.

Click here to view the full earnings release and check back later for further insight into the firm’s full-year results.