Kerry Group shares take hit

SHARES in Kerry Group took a hit after the Tralee based multinational revised its fullyear earnings guidance and said it was dealing with ongoing problems in its Irish consumer foods sector.

In an interim management statement issued on Wednesday covering the nine months to the end of September Kerry Group said it now expected to post earnings per share growth for 2012 of between 9 per cent and 11per cent, down marginally from the 8 per cent to 12 per cent indicated earlier in the year.

Sales of Kerry shares were flat in Dublin in early trading on Wednesday morning but then trended steadily downwards after the revised earnings statement was released.

By the close of trading the stock had fallen 2.6 per cent to €40.37 though the shares are up more than 50 per cent on last year.

Kerry Group said it had recorded "good organic growth" across all its business during the year so far, but was dealing with "challenging market conditions in Europe and the continuing competitive consumer foods market situation in Ireland and the UK".

For the year to the end of September revenue climbed 10.9 per cent to €4.4 billion, while on a like-for-like basis business sales were up 2 per cent.

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