A number of recent acquisitions by Irish food ingredients, flavours and consumer foods group Kerry will help the group post 2002 results in line with market expectations, managing director Hugh Friel said at the company's annual general meeting.
Friel said that a number of acquisitions in the ingredients and consumer foods sectors had been completed since the end of the 2001 fiscal year at a total cost of €117 million. "Kerry is constantly focused on expanding its food technology base and broadening its product offerings through its global ingredients and flavour operations, and will also continue to capitalise on growth opportunities in snack and convenience categories of the UK and Irish consumer foods sectors," Friel said.
"Building on the group's successful acquisitions programme in 2001, the businesses acquired to-date in 2002 again enhance our leading edge technology and customer services," he said.
In the ingredients segment, Kerry has added the Mexican group Industrial Deshidratadora (IDSA), which "significantly expands the group's ingredients offering to convenience segments of the food manufacturing, foodservice and retail sectors". IDSA is the largest producer of convenience blends in Mexico and is also a leading supplier of tomato powders. It has two manufacturing facilities in San Juan del Rio and Mexico City which Kerry said would complement its exiting operations in Irapuato.
"The acquired business expands Kerry's product offering to include spray-dried fruit preparations for instant beverages, dairy applications, ready-to-eat cereals, cereal bars and mueslis. In addition IDSA has also developed a strong retail branded franchise, including Benedik Coffee and Lautrec coffee creamer," Friel said.
Also in the ingredients segment, Kerry has acquired the US-based Ringger Foods, Roskam Cereal & Agglomerates and Stearns & Lehman groups. Ringger produces speciality extruded food ingredients such cookie pieces for confectionery, granola bars and cereals, while Roskam will allow Kerry to expand its sweet ingredients business. Stearns & Lehman, meanwhile, produces Italian-style flavoured syrups for coffee and is one of the biggest producers of such products in the world.
In the consumer foods segment, Kerry has acquired its compatriot Deli Products, allowing it to develop its business in the chilled convenience food market, which the group said was growing at around 20 per cent a year. In the UK, meanwhile, Kerry has acquired the Pork Farms Bowyers van sales operation of Northern Foods, which will be integrated with Kerry's own Direct to Store unit which distributes chilled snacks to the independent retail and convenience market.
Friel said that since the year-end the group had also concluded the sale of the Bailieboro milk processing business for €33m and that the sales of the Artigarvan milk processing business in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, was progressing as planned.