Kerry Group has said it expects good revenue growth for the year ahead as its reported an increase of 3.8% in its business volumes for the first three months of 2017.

In an interim management statement issued ahead of its AGM today, the company also reaffirmed its earnings guidance of 5% to 9% growth for 2017.

Kerry said margins in the UK had been hit because of sterling weakness but that despite the uncertainty caused by the UK vote to leave the EU it "continued to perform well delivering sustained volume growth".

Outgoing Kerry Group CEO Stan McCarthy said that the company's first quarter highlights a good volume driven performance across group businesses, maintaining the momentum reported last year.

"The group expects to achieve good revenue growth and 5% to 9% growth in adjusted earnings per share in 2017, as previously guided," he added.

Kerry said that business volumes in its Taste and Nutrition division rose by 4.1%, while pricing increased by 1.4%. In the Americas region, it reported 3.8% volume growth and a solid performance across North and South American markets. 

The company said that market conditions in the EMEA region were broadly unchanged, but Kerry managed to achieve an improved performance with business volumes up by 1.9% compared to the same time last year. 

It also noted good development momentum in the meat sector, while its dairy and culinary maintained good growth.

Business volumes in the Asia-Pacific region grew by 10.4% in the first quarter as beverage taste technologies and systems grew strongly. 

Meanwhile, business volumes rose by 2.3% in Kerry's Consumer Foods division as pricing increased by 1%.

It said that its chilled and frozen meals businesses performed in line with expectations, but the UK sausage marketplace remained challenging.

The company's 'Cheesestrings' brand saw growth in the UK market despite industrial relations issues at the Charleville production plant during the three month period. 

Kerry also said the Irish spreads market continued to reflect a decline in volume and value, but its "Dairygold" brand again grew market share due to new product launches.

In February, the company announced that Stan McCarthy will retire in September after holding the CEO role for nine and a half years.

Edmond Scanlon has been appointed chief executive designate to succeed Mr McCarthy on his retirement.
He is currently President and CEO of Kerry Asia Pacific. 

Shares in the company moved higher in Dublin trade today.