Irish food manufacturer Kerry Group saw earnings climb in the first half of the year and said it is confident of achieving full-year growth targets.

The consumer food and ingredients group said today (8 August) half-year net profit increased 12.2% to EUR117.4m (US$156.8m). Operating profit rose by 10.4% to EUR173.3m.

However, it was Kerry’s ingredients and flavours business that boosted results, with sales and profits down from its consumer food division.

Kerry said it achieved a “strong” financial performance in the first half and continued to invest in enhancing the quality of its businesses.

Sales reached EUR2.9bn, a 1.1% increase on the prior year, while volumes were up 2.7%.

Results across Kerry’s ingredients and flavours division and its consumer foods business segments were “very encouraging”, it said, given the relatively “sluggish” overall market environment.

However, it was Kerry’s ingredients and flavours business that boosted results. Ingredients and flavours sales grew 4.1% to EUR2.16bn. Trading profit was up 11.6% to EUR239m.

Consumer foods sales fell 5.8% to EUR830m, leading to a 1.8% dropin trading profit to EUR64m. However, margins increased 30 basis points to 7.7%.

“We remain confident of achieving our growth targets for the full year and delivering 7% to 11% growth in adjusted earnings per share to a range of 250 to 260 cent per share,” said chief executive Stan McCarthy.

Click here for coverage of Kerry’s investor call on its results.

Click here to view the full earnings release.