Food technology and ingredients company Kerry Group has reported a strong recovery in its business performance in the third quarter.
In a trading update for the nine months to the end of September, Kerry said it had seen a strong recovery since April in its foodservice business.
This came as restaurants reopened and adapted their operations and menus to cater for increased consumer demand for takeaway, online and delivery.
It added that its performance in the retail channel remained strong, mainly through growth in authentic cooking, plant-based offerings and health and wellness products.
Kerry said its performance so far this year has been impacted by Covid-19, most notably in the foodservice channel.
Its group reported revenue decreased by 4.5%, which it said reflected a volume reduction of 4.7% and increased pricing of 0.3%.
Kerry also said its group trading margin declined mainly due to the significant operating deleverage impact resulting from the sharp decline in foodservice orders when lockdown measures were introduced globally.
It added that additional Covid-19 related costs were partially offset by cost mitigation actions.
"This year has seen unprecedented variability and complexity across our industry," Kerry's chief executive Edmond Scanlon said.
"The agility and ingenuity of Kerry's teams in adapting to these changing conditions has contributed to Kerry's strong recovery in the third quarter, which was in line with previous guidance," the CEO added.
Edmond Scanlon said the company continued to make good progress on a number of strategic fronts and during the third quarter it bought Bio-K Plus International probiotics in Canada and Jining Nature Group, a savoury taste business in China.
"As we continue to manage through these unprecedented times, we expect to continue our recovery in the final quarter and return to volume growth, while today we also resume providing full year earnings guidance," the CEO added.
Looking ahead, Kerry said that while there remains a high level of uncertainty, based on current market conditions, it expects business volumes to return to growth in the final quarter.
It is guiding a full year earnings per share decrease of 8-11% in constant currency terms.