Greencore Reports Annual Loss on One-Time Costs, Sales Decline

Greencore Group Plc (GNC), the supplier of more than 100 million ready-meals a year to U.K. retailers, reported an annual loss after sales declined and it had costs linked to a restructuring.

Greencore had a net loss of 9.9 million euros ($13.2 million) in the year ended Sept. 25, compared with a profit of 53.4 million euros in the year-earlier period, the Dublin-based company said today in a Regulatory News Service statement. The company had one-time net loss of 25.2 million euros on discontinued activities and restructuring.

Greencore is on track to deliver “modest earnings growth” in 2010, the company said in the statement. Greencore, which has exited its frozen desserts business and sold its agricultural feed unit, agreed last week to sell its bottled water business to Highland Spring Ltd. The company also said Nov. 17 it had received unsolicited approaches for its malt business.

Greencore has seen a “good recovery” in its core convenience food markets in the last 12 months, Finance Director Geoff Doherty said in a phone interview. The company is seeing “great momentum” in its U.S. business and has funding available to fund growth there, he said.

Greencore gained 3 cents, or 2.2 percent, to 1.42 euros at 8:34 a.m. local time, raising its market value to 292 million euros.

Sales from continuing operations fell 16 percent to 1.1 billion euros, a fall of 0.8 percent after stripping out currency swings. Greencore makes about 80 percent of its operating profit in pounds and reports in euros. Operating profit before one-time items fell 5.7 percent to 72.9 million euros.

Greencore, whose soups and ready-meals are sold by customers including Tesco Plc (TSCO) and J. Sainsbury Plc (SBRY), plans to pay a final dividend of 4.5 cents per share, compared with 8.21 cents in the year-earlier period.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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