Kerry Group reported a 9.9% drop in revenue in the first quarter in its interim management statement, with prices across its businesses lower than a year earlier.

The company reported volume growth in its Taste and Nutrition business, while Kerry Dairy Ireland saw a 3% drop in volumes and a 13.7% drop in price.

The group described the performance of Dairy Ireland as “solid” and said it was in line with expectations and that dairy ingredients volumes were affected by softer supply “given local market conditions”.

The statement noted that revenue at Dairy Ireland “reflects changes in contractual arrangements implemented in the current year”. Details

Kerry chief financial officer Marguerite Larkin said there would be more details on this in the group’s half-year report.

Kerry said that consumer demand remained “relatively subdued” during the first three months of the year and cited the “recent inflation across many geographies”.

Kerry announced a fresh €300m share buyback programme, which will commence after there is a vote on the proposal at the annual general meeting on 2 May and is expected to run until the end of the year.

The group’s previous €300m buyback programme, which commenced in November of last year, ended on 30 April.

Due to the number of shares being purchased, Kerry’s earnings-per-share guidance has risen from 5% to 8% up to 5.5% to 8.5%.

Kerry Group CEO Edmond Scanlon said: “We are pleased to report a good start to the year given market dynamics.

"Taste & Nutrition achieved good volume growth driven by a strong performance within our food service channel and we delivered strong margin expansion in the period, reflecting the continued development and evolution of our business.”