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Glanbia on course to post earnings growth of 13pc

THE steady stream of positive data from the agri-foods sector continued yesterday as Glanbia said it remained on track to post earnings-per-share growth of up to 13pc this year.

In an interim management statement (IMS), the group said growth was being driven by the global nutritionals business, which group chief executive John Moloney claimed was "performing well".

The January acquisition of the US sports nutrition company BSN is also said to be on target to be earnings enhancing this year.

"We're reiterating the guidance and leading that out is good volumes in global nutritionals and good performance in dairy ingredients," he said.

First-half performance in the Dairy Ireland business, which was nearly sold back to the co-op last year, is performing ahead of the same period in 2010, Mr Moloney added.

"Current global dairy market conditions and higher milk volumes support a good performance in dairy ingredients while agri-business is having a solid first half."

Despite the growth in Dairy Ireland overall, the trading environment in Ireland for consumer goods remains "difficult" and "cost pressures remain high".

US Cheese was also performing "satisfactorily" despite lower volume.

Davy Stockbrokers' Jack Gorman welcomed the IMS: "The underlying story remains intact -- strong momentum in global nutritionals supplemented by improved dairy markets."

At yesterday's annual general meeting, both Mr Moloney and co-op chairman Liam Herlihy admitted that while "the strategic rationale" for the co-op taking over the Dairy Ireland business was still there, both the plc and co-op were now focused on preparing to expand production ahead of the removal of milk quotas in 2015.

The fixed milk price contracts Glanbia announced last December have proved popular with suppliers and Mr Moloney said the company is looking at other ways of securing fixed prices, especially ahead of 2015.

Glanbia closed down 2.47pc at €4.35.

Indo Business