The company attributed the rise to its decision to refocus its products on the booming convenience foods segment of the market.
"The performance of our convenience foods division in 2006 has been excellent, with sales growing at twice the market rate and operating margins broadly maintained, despite significant inflationary cost pressures," said David Dilger, Greencore CEO.The food manufacturer has enjoyed sales growth of 8.3 per cent to €901.4m from €832.6m, double that of the overall food market which grew 3.4 per cent. The second half proved to be particularly strong with sales up 8.4 per cent and margins up 8.4 per cent.
The convenience foods division accounted for 92.4 per cent of operating profits during the trading year.
Greencore now holds either the number one or number two position in every product category in which it competes.
"The strength of our convenience foods business has substantially mitigated the negative impact of EU sugar regime reform, a reform that not only significantly reduced sugar profits in 2006, but led us to exit sugar processing entirely," said Dilger, Greencore CEO.
Energy price inflation and costs of €4m had adverse effects on European malt markets and impacted Greencore's malt business.
Greencore is one of Europe's leading producers of convenience foods as well as established ingredients and agribusiness supplier with operations in Ireland, UK, the Netherlands and Belgium.