Irish Food Industry Can ‘Exploit’ Credit Crisis, Bloxham Says

Ireland’s publicly traded food and beverage companies will benefit in the second-half of 2009 from a stabilization in consumer spending and acquisitions, Bloxham Stockbrokers said today.

The eight companies in the group, which includes Kerry Group Plc (KYG), have “reasonably strong balance sheets” and acquisitions are possible in the second-half of the year, Bloxham analyst Joe Gill wrote in a report published today.

Irish food companies “largely avoided the expensive deals that were fuelled by loose credit,” prior to the global credit crisis, Gill said. “They are therefore well positioned to exploit the opportunities that exist amid the recession and credit crisis.”

Consumer spending will stabilize in the second-half of 2009 and into 2010 while the pound’s recovery against the euro in the first-half of the year will help Irish food companies, including C&C Group Plc (GCC), export at a more competitive rate to the U.K. market, Gill said

The eight companies have added 32 percent to their value on Dublin’s ISEQ index since Bloxham’s last report on the industry in February, Gill said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Colm Heatley in Belfast at cheatley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Merritt at dmerritt1@bloomberg.net

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