Coleraine Cheddar owners celebrating a tasty sales boost
Coleraine Cheddar owners Kerry Group has reported 3.7% growth in business volumes in the first quarter of 2018.
The Irish food business, which exports around the world, said sales in consumer foods were up 1.6%, while taste and nutrition division sales were up 4.3%.
Kerry Group owns six facilities in Northern Ireland, including Dairy Produce Packers, makers of the popular Coleraine cheese brand, Henry Denny & Sons in Portadown and Golden Cow in Craigavon.
Other brands in the group include Dairygold and Cheestrings.
In an interim management statement for the first quarter, chief executive Edmund Scanlon said: "We are pleased with the start we have made to 2018, which is in line with our expectations as communicated in February.
"The group continued to deliver healthy volume growth and underlying margin expansion.
"The acquisitions completed over the past year are performing well and integration is progressing to plan.
"Our industry-leading business model and 'from-food for-food' heritage are ever more relevant in today's marketplace and continue to underpin a strong innovation pipeline.
"In summary, we are encouraged by the start to the year and reaffirm our full year 2018 guidance of adjusted earnings per share growth of 6% to 10% in constant currency."
Shares in Kerry Group were down slightly to €85.30 on the Irish Stock Exchange despite the company reporting the growth in business volumes.
Of particular note was the group's taste and nutrition growth in developing markets, where it reported a 9.7% rise in business volumes.
According to Davy analyst, the results demonstrate that Kerry Group is already executing on medium targets "underpinned by its unique business".
Pricing at the group increased by 0.9% in the quarter.
Meanwhile reported revenues increased by 0.1%, which the group said reflected the business volume growth and positive pricing.