Kerry Group plans to continue its strong foothold in the Chinese market by progressively introducing all its food technologies. This is according to Frank Hayes, head of its Corporate Affairs Department. Kerry Group is one of the largest global ingredients and flavours and consumer foods group in emerging markets.

Speaking to AgriLand, he outlined the company’s Asian market focus: “We have been in the Chinese market for 10 years. We have a very strong foothold here and we will continue to progressively introduce all the latest food technologies to the market.

“Our customer base is growing across Asia and China. Part of the journey ahead is to provide the same service and business in Asia as we do in Europe and the Americas. The challenge for the next number of years is to broaden the food technology into the Asian market. We have employed more resources in the past number of years, 13 per cent of our group business is now in Asia.”

The agri-business giant announced a solid financial performance for the first half of the year this week, reporting a 12 per cent increase in earnings.

Kerry Group trading profit increased by 9.8 per cent to €267m and adjusted earnings per share increased by 11.7 per cent to 108.9 cent. It remains confident of achieving its growth targets for the full year and delivering seven per cent to 11 per cent growth in adjusted earnings per share to a range of 250 to 260 cent per share.

In addition, any opportunities in Kerry Group key growth market of China from a contamination scare would only be temporary, its chief financial officer Brian Mehigan told Reuters News yesterday morning.

Dairy giant Fonterra said at the weekend it had found a bacteria that can cause botulism in its products. The discovery led to recalls of infant formula in China and elsewhere and prompted fears of a slump in demand for New Zealand’s dairy products.

The company noted a possible uplift from the contamination scare but said it wasn’t something it needed to count on. “I don’t think that we need to see those kind of issues to generate opportunities for us,” Chief Financial Officer Brian Mehigan told Reuters News Service.

“Generally these things are temporary and they pass through. There can be temporary opportunities but I think in the long term we have a business model and an offer to the customers that will look after itself.”

Pictured: Kerry Group Chief Executive Stan McCarthy and Brian Mehigan, Chief Financial Officer report a solid financial performance for the half year ended 30 June 2013 for Kerry, the global ingredients & flavours and consumer foods group at The Westin Hotel in Dublin yesterday. Image: Peter Houlihan/Fennells