Bloomberg News

Greencore ‘Comfortable’ on Goals After Jubilee Boost, CEO Says

July 10, 2012

Greencore Group Plc, which supplies convenience foods to all of the U.K.’s main supermarket chains, is “very comfortable” with its financial goals for the year, helped by sales from events around Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Coveney said.

“We had a very, very good positive volume uplift associated with all the Jubilee events” of early June, Coveney said in an interview at the company’s Dublin headquarters. Business since then has been affected by flooding in many parts of the U.K., “so there are swings and roundabouts,” he said.

Greencore, the world’s largest sandwich maker, continues to target “good underlying revenue growth and strong growth in adjusted earnings per share” for this financial year, the CEO said. Still, revenue growth from continuing operations will probably slow from the near 10 percent pace of the first half after Greencore bought U.K. food company Uniq Plc, he said.

“With the size of our business and the maturity of some of these categories, to continue to target close to double-digit like-for-like revenue growth I don’t think makes a lot of sense,” Coveney said. Greencore’s longer-term growth target of more than 5 percent is a more “balanced number,” he said.

Greencore sales for the first half ended March 30 from continuing operations rose 9.3 percent to 541.7 million pounds ($842 million) and it recorded net income of 15.4 million pounds compared with a loss of 563,000 pounds a year earlier.

The Irish company last month acquired H.C. Schau & Son, Inc., a U.S. fresh-food manufacturer. The acquisition was its second in the U.S. in four months following the purchase of Marketfare Foods, with a total outlay of more than $50 million.

The purchase of Schau was in part triggered by Greencore’s need for additional production facilities to supply a “large small-store operator,” who Coveney declined to identify.

To contact the reporter on this story: Finbarr Flynn in Dublin at fflynn3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Lytle at dlytle@bloomberg.net


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