Speculation is growing that the Kerry Group might be about to launch a takeover or merger bid for one of its major competitors within the next couple of years.

A report by brokers Goodbody says that the Irish firm is eyeing a merger or acquisition of one of the key food ingredient players, including the likes of Sensient Technologies, McCormack & Co, International Flavourings & Fragrances or the flavour operations of Danisco.

Goodbody cites that Kerry has now reached a scale that entails a spend of €1bn on a deal. The broker predicts that consolidation among its customers may prompt food and ingredient firms into a similar process of consolidation.

Kerry is now among the elite food ingredient players in the world having operations that span most of the globe, its experience in extracting synergies and driving businesses may prove popular for shareholders in other ingredient firms.