The first half of 2009 has been ‘challenging’ for Glanbia: that’s the hardly surprising declaration made in the plc’s half-yearly pre-close trading statement.

Summarising the past six months, Glanbia declared that “volatility in global dairy markets has severely impacted the performance of Food Ingredients Ireland”.

The statement continues: “As a consequence this business has become loss making and is having a detrimental effect on the Group’s performance for the half and full year.” In recent months, as reported on the front of this section last week, Glanbia has brought a significant rationalisation programme into play.

Despite this, the plc has largely performed in line with its previously projected expectations. “However, results will be significantly behind when compared with the first half of 2008.”

Domestically, Glanbia is “performing reasonably well,” despite the increased competitiveness of the food retail market coupled with the decline in consumer confidence.

“As anticipated, revenues and profits are lower in Agribusiness, reflecting pressure on farm incomes.”

Across the Atlantic, Food Ingredients USA “is performing in line with expectations but, as previously noted, results will be behind when compared with a strong first half in 2008.”

The statement adds: “The Nutritionals business is achieving strong organic growth and Optimum is on target for its forecast contribution. International joint ventures are performing satisfactorily.”

Looking ahead, Glanbia, despite “a particularly difficult first half” of the year and given the “limited prospects for a recovery in dairy markets,” the Group’s adjusted earnings per share remains between 30 and 32 cent for the full year.

The plc’s half-yearly results will be announced on Wednesday, August 26th.