Irish food and malt group Greencore is expecting its full-year earnings per share (EPS) to come in around 5% above forecasts.

The Dublin-based company said its expectations for current-year earnings “continue to improve”, adding that it was “satisfied” with its full-year performance.

In a trading statement issued ahead of publication of its results for the year to 28 September, Greencore said its upgraded guidance “reflects a modest increase in anticipated group operating profits, together with a reduction in the group’s tax charge, consistent with a change in the mix of group profits”.

Greencore said its convenience foods division had had a “difficult” second half but this was offset by a strong performance from its ingredients and property arm.

Hit by unseasonal weather conditions in the UK and as yet unrecovered raw material price inflation, Greencore expects operating profit from convenience foods to be down by 8% for the year.

Moreover, Greencore said market conditions remain challenging with significant further input cost inflation anticipated. However, it added that the combination of a strong operational performance, necessary pricing improvements, tight cost management and the delivery of key new commercial initiatives would enable it to deliver good growth in 2008.

After a strong second half, the ingredients and property arm is expected to deliver “a significant increase” in full-year profits, Greencore added.

At the end of August, Greencore completed the sale of its 50% stake in Odlum Group to Origin Enterprises. The company said it expects to record an exceptional profit from the sale of EUR24m (US$33.8m) in the current financial year.