Irish food group Greencore has said it made good progress in the first half, as price increases offset higher costs of raw materials.

For the six months ended 26 March 2004, Greencore said it had achieved a 4% rise in like-for-like sales growth, with the convenience food division posting 6% growth.

Profit before tax, exceptional items and goodwill amortisation slid 3% to €30.1m (US$36.6m), while underlying earnings per share, adjusted for currency effects and disposals, edged up 1%.

“Price increases have been achieved to offset substantially all of the significant raw material inflation in the UK convenience food categories, although the time lag has impacted H1 results,” the company said.

Greencore said it had further extended its UK chilled ready meal capacity to support ongoing growth.

“The group has made good progress in the first six months of the financial year and has capably dealt with the key cost challenges faced by the entire sector,” said CEO David Dilger.

“Results for the second half of the financial year will reflect the benefit of the price increases and cost savings achieved to date…Overall, the group remains confident of a successful outcome for the full year,” he added.