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Greencore sales gather pace
by Claa O'Brien - 24/05/2011
"Sales at Greencore grew in the first half of the year but a fall in property trading activity hit profit."
Greencore's results benefited "modestly" from the weaker euro versus sterling. The company said sales were 7.9 per cent higher for the six month period, reaching €442 million. On a constant currency basis, sales were 4.4 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier.
Operating profit was €27 million, a 1.7 per cent rise year on year but a 2.2 per cent decline on a constant currency basis.
Sales at its convenience foods division grew by 4.3 per cent on a constant currency basis, despite challenging market conditions. Greencore said the bad weather early in the year had caused "significant disruption" in four of its largest factories in the UK and the US.
The group is also facing rising costs from raw material inflation, and will continue to be a focus for management.
The activity in the ingredients and property unit accounts for less than 10 per cent of overall group activity, following the sale of Greencore's malt business in the first half of last year. The division had operating profits of €1 million for the six-month period, as the weak economic environment in Ireland hit the group's property portfolio.
"Our business continues to perform well, despite some of the recent challenges in the UK and US food markets," said chairman Patrick Coveney.
The company missed out on acquiring Northern Foods earlier this year after businessman Ranjit Boparan came in with a rival offer that valued Northern Foods at £342 million.
Mr Coveney was upbeat despite the failure of the bid. "Clearly, in the last six months we devoted considerable time and resources to corporate development activity and it was disappointing not to be able to execute a combination with Northern Foods," he said.
"We learnt an enormous amount from the process and we are optimistic about our ability to drive growth and shareholder value from both our existing business and from corporate development in the months and years ahead."
More Details: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0524/breaking5.html