Tag Archive | "financial performance"

Strong Full Year Performance From Diageo


Strong performances in emerging markets have helped Diageo to achieve organic growth of 6% in net sales to £10.76 billion and 9% in operating profit before exceptional items to £3.20 billion for the year ended 30 June 2012, with the margin improving by 60 basis points. Free cash flow was £1.6 billion.

During the year, Diageo increased marketing investment by 8%, up 30 basis points to 15.8% of net sales, focusing on strategic brands and the fastest growing markets.

Emerging markets, which now account for almost 40% of Diageo’s business, grew net sales  by15% and operating profit by 23%. Acquisitions in faster growing markets, primarily Mey İçki inTurkey, added £320 million of net sales and £82 million of operating profit after transaction and integration costs.

During the year Diageo increased its ownership stake in Shuijingfang and Halico and announced an agreement to acquire the Ypioca brand inBrazil. The drinks group is also planning to invest a further £1 billion to expand its Scotch whisky production capacity

“Diageo is a strong business, getting stronger,” says Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo. “We have increased our presence in the faster growing markets of the world, through both acquisitions and strong organic growth. We have enhanced our leading brand positions globally, through effective marketing and industry leading innovation and we have strengthened our routes to market. 6% organic top line growth, 9% operating profit growth and 60 basis points of margin expansion is a strong performance and demonstrates our commitment to delivering efficient growth.”

He adds “In F12, we have continued to invest to ensure this business is well positioned for the future. Our confidence in the achievement of our medium term guidance is underscored by the 8% recommended increase in our final dividend.”

 

Posted in NewsComments Off on Strong Full Year Performance From Diageo

Interim Revenue and Profit Growth at Heineken


Heineken has reported a 4.5% organic increase in revenue to Eur8.8 billion for the first half of 2012, driven by higher total consolidated volumes up 1.6% and revenue per hectolitre growth of 2.9%. Group beer volume rose 3.3% with increases in four out of the global brewer’s five regions. Reported net profit increased 30% to Eur783 million but included a post-tax book gain of Eur131 million for the sale of a minority stake in a brewery in the Dominican Republic. Net profit (beia) declined 4% on an organic basis.

Heineken’s ongoing Total Cost Management (TCM2) programme delivered pre-tax savings of Eur85 million in the first half of 2012. Despite this benefit, profitability in the first half of the year was impacted by difficult trading conditions across Europe as well as higher input costs and planned capability investments.

Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, chairman and chief executive of Heineken, comments: “Our focus on delivering top-line growth continues to be successful with revenue increases across all regions and market share gains in several of our key markets. The Heineken brand again performed strongly in the international premium segment with organic volume growth of 6%. “Our Africa & the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Americas regions all delivered an excellent top- and bottom-line performance.”

He continues: “Although faced with a challenging economic environment and unfavourable weather, revenue in Western Europe increased slightly in the first half of the year, whereas the Central & Eastern Europe region reported solid organic top-line growth.”

Heineken expects overall group revenues for the full year to benefit from continued positive momentum in higher growth economies across the Asia Pacific, Africa & the Middle East and the Americas regions. However, volume in Western Europe is expected to remain subdued in the second half of 2012 owing to the challenging economic conditions. Full year net profit (beia) is expected to be broadly in line with last year, on an organic basis.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Interim Revenue and Profit Growth at Heineken

Carlsberg Shows Resilience


Helped by market share gains in all regions, Carlsberg has reported a 47% rise in net profit to DKr3.28 billion in the first half of 2012 on organic net revenue up by 1% to DKr32.46 billion (Eur4.35 billion). However, operating profit at DKr4.05 billion was down from the DKr4.70 billion in the first half of 2011, due to decline in Northern & Western Europe and Eastern Europe offset by growth in Asia.

During the first half, the Northern & Western Europe beer market, excluding Poland, declined by an estimated 3-4% while the Russian beer market was up by an estimated 2%.

“Carlsberg achieved positive market share growth in all three regions which shows that the recent years’ significant efforts behind our international premium brands, local power brands, and within sales execution are paying off,” comment Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, chief executive of Carlsberg. “It is particularly satisfactory to see a further improvement in our Russian market share which is a clear sign that our efforts initiated during last year are beginning to bear fruit. Excellent execution of EURO 2012 delivered very strong visibility of the Carlsberg brand. Sales and marketing investments were more skewed towards the first half of this year which, combined with the very bad weather in Northern & Western Europe, impacted profits for the first six months.”

Carlsberg expects full year operating profit before special items to be at the level of 2011 with slightly growing adjusted net profit.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Carlsberg Shows Resilience

Solid First Half From Kerry Group


Kerry Group has reported a solid business performance for the half year ended 30 June 2012 and increased guidance for full year. The global ingredients, flavours and consumer foods group increased revenue by 10% (2.5% on a like-for-like basis) to Eur2.9 billion and trading profit by 12.6% to Eur241 million. Notwithstanding the increased level of expenditure relating to the group’s ongoing 1 Kerry Business Transformation and global ‘Kerryconnect’ IT project, the group trading profit margin increased by 20 basis points to 8.3%.

Sales at Kerry’s Ingredients & Flavours business rose by 14% to Eur2.07 billion with 3.7% like-for-like growth. Trading profit grew by 10.9% like-for-like to Eur213 million with the division’s trading margin improving by 30 basis points to 10.3%.

Despite the impact of the economic situation in Ireland and the UK on consumer trends and spend, Kerry Foods performed satisfactorily in the first half of 2012 achieving continued growth in the UK branded and private label sectors and a stabilised market positioning in Ireland. Divisional revenue increased by 1.8% on a reported basis to Eur881 million, reflecting 0.1% like-for-like growth. Consumer Food trading profit increased by 0.6% like-for-like to Eur64 million, maintaining the divisional trading margin at 7.3%.

Stan McCarthy, chief executive of Kerry Group, comments: “Kerry achieved a strong financial and operating performance in the first half of 2012 which augurs well for the full year. We have a strong innovation pipeline and continue to make good progress in implementation of our 1 Kerry Business Transformation programme. The group is confident of delivering our full year growth objectives and has revised adjusted earnings per share guidance upwards. We now expect to achieve eight to twelve per cent growth in adjusted earnings per share in 2012.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Solid First Half From Kerry Group

Nestle Maintains Momentum During First Half


Reflecting growth across all its global regions, Nestle has reported a 7.5% increase in group sales to SFr44.1 billion (Eur36.7 billion) with net profit up 8.9% to SFr4.7 billion for the first half of 2012. Organic sales growth was 6.6%, composed of real internal growth of 2.9% and pricing of 3.7%. Acquisitions, net of divestitures, contributed 2.7%.

The Swiss food and beverage group managed to offset rising input costs through savings from its Nestle Continuous Excellence programme as well as timely pricing increases. Group trading operating profit rose by 6.3% to SFr6.6 billion. The margin was 15.0%, in line with expectation that the margin performance would be second-half weighted. Nestle is continuing to invest in R&D to drive innovation, maintaining the level at 1.6% of sales.

Growth was achieved in all regions of the world. The Americas exhibited organic growth of 6.4%, Europe 2.6% and Asia, Oceania and Africa 12.6%. Nestle’s business grew 12.9% in emerging markets and 2.6% in developed markets.

Paul Bulcke (pictured), chief executive of Nestle, comments: “We continue to drive innovation globally, ranging from popularly positioned products to super premium offerings. We are continually opening new routes-to-market to reach emerging consumers, and using new media to increase both our direct engagement with consumers and our return on brand investment. This approach has delivered profitable growth in both emerging and developed markets. Our first-half top line growth and our trading operating profit margin, together with our focus on capital efficiency, allow us to reconfirm our full-year outlook.”

Nestle’s full-year outlook is for organic growth of 5% to 6%, improved margin and underlying earnings per share in constant currencies.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Nestle Maintains Momentum During First Half

Stability Returning to Premier Foods


UK food processor Premier Foods has reported that its underlying business sales increased by 1.1% to £757.1 million in the six months to 30 June 2012, an increase of £8.0 million compared to the prior year, and that underlying business trading profit increased by 3.2% to £53.2 million. As Premier Foods is undergoing a period of substantial restructuring and major disposal of assets to reduce debt, the group is focusing on its underlying business performance.

Underlying business excludes the results of completed business disposals as at 30 June 2012, Milling (sales only), and specific material items in 2011 and 2012 including pension credits, commercial adjustments and a non-core, discrete contract loss.

Sales at the Grocery division increased by 2.5% to £504.0 million but fell by 1.7% to £253.1 million at the Bread division.

Grocery divisional contribution to trading profit decreased by £4.4 million to £95.5 million in the first half of the year, owing to an increase in consumer marketing expenditure of £8.0 milion and higher promotional investment. The Bread division contribution declined £8.2 million to £22.5 million due to lower market volumes, increased promotional activity in a competitive environment and higher net costs to serve in the supply chain. The divisional contribution, the measure which the group is now using for reporting divisional performance, strips out all costs previously identified as Group & Corporate costs and other selling, general and administrative costs. The Grocery and Bread divisiional performances were offset by strong progress in the SG&A cost base, as costs reduced by £14.3 million.

“I’m pleased with the progress we are making to stabilise the business, re-focus the portfolio and invest in our future growth. Our strategy of focusing on our Power Brands is starting to gain traction,” comments Michael Clarke, chief executive of Premier Foods. “Power Brand sales were up 2% and sales of Grocery Power Brands increased by a healthy 4.9%, reflecting consistent improvement in market shares. Trading profit increased 3.2%, in line with our expectations.”

Plans to simplify the business and drive further efficiency and effectiveness are proceeding ahead of plan and Premier Foods will now deliver the previously announced £40 million savings by the end of 2012 – a year ahead of schedule. Michael Clarke adds: “As we continue our divestment programme, we plan to take further costs out of the business. We remain cautious given the current economic and trading environment and our full year expectations remain unchanged.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Stability Returning to Premier Foods

Rise in Interim Profit and Sales at Parmalat


Parmalat has reported a 9.4% rise in EBITDA to Eur183.3 million on revenue up 6.1% to Eur2.28 billion for the first half of 2012, aided by increases in sales prices implemented last year in the Italy-based international dairy group’s main countries and higher sales volumes in Australia, Russia and Africa.

In Italy EBITDA grew by 16.0% to Eur45.9 million on flat sales of Eur482.4 million compared with the same period last year. In the Other Countries in Europe sales region, which includes the subsidiaries in Russia, Portugal and Romania, net revenues increased by 7.7% to Eur82.8 million and EBITDA rose from Eur3.3 million to Eur6.5 million chiefly as a result of a strong performance by the Russian subsidiary, which benefited from an incisive sales policy and the lower prices for raw milk.

Group EBIT at Eur96.2 million was down slightly from the Eur96.6 million reported at June 30, 2011, as operational improvements were offset by lower non-recurring activities.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Rise in Interim Profit and Sales at Parmalat

Profits and Sales Fall at Zetar


Zetar, the UK-based confectionery and snack foods group, has reported a 17.5% drop in adjusted profit before tax to £5.5 million for the year ended 30 April 2012. Revenue dropped 5.0% to £128 million due to Zetar’s strategic exit from low margin commodity snack products and reduction in Easter confectionery sales. Net borrowings were reduced from £14.9 million to £10.8 million as the company remains focused on driving down levels of debt.

Ian Blackburn, chief executive of Zetar, comments: “Last year’s financial performance was disappointing primarily due to the late reduction in Easter 2012 sales, as our customers became increasingly cautious as the economic crisis in Europe unfolded. However, we continued to make good progress towards our main strategic objectives to increase the proportion of everyday and branded sales. Our portfolio of brands has been extended by the addition of the iconic brands Guinness and Tango, and we anticipate signing further well-known brands in FY2013.”

He continues: “We are optimistic about the new financial year following recent significant new everyday product wins and although consumer markets remain challenging, we are pleased that the year has begun in line with our expectations with underlying sales growth of 7%, to which may be added one-off sales in respect of Olympic gifting products of approximately £1.5 million in the first eleven weeks of the year. Last year’s cost initiatives are reflected in improved margins in the period. Accordingly the board is confident that the group’s results for the current financial year will be back on plan.”

Zetar has an ambitious business plan for the next three years in terms of revenue and margin growth targets. This will involves bolstering the company’s brand model with additional licensed brands for both divisions and capitalising on opportunities to drive private label sales as UK retailers seek to complement their value-for-money ranges with more premium added-value products. Zetar has also identified opportunities to expand its export sales, particularly into mainland Europe via the newly-formed subsidiary Zetar France.

The board’s confidence in the group’s future prospects and financial strength is reflected in its decision to increase the dividend by 33%.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Profits and Sales Fall at Zetar

Real Good Food Company Set For Major Expansion


With all divisions recording sales growth, Real Good Food Company has reported a 62% increase in EBITDA to £9.1 million on turnover up 24.4% to £249.0 million in 12 months to December 2011. The performance was driven by a focus on brand development and by driving sales growth.

A significant proportion of the EBITDA growth came from sugar distributor Napier Brown as it responded successfully to the market changes following EU sugar regime reform but the overall profit performance was supported also by strong results from Renshaw and Garrett Ingredients. Renshaw supplies a range of food ingredients primarily to the bakery sector, while Garrett is a major player in the UK ingredients and bakery market supplying a full range of dairy and bakery ingredients, ice-cream mixes, sugar and milk. The fourth division, Haydens Bakery, produces chilled and ambient premium patisserie and desserts and has just commenced a three years bakery modernisation programme.

Pieter Totte, executive chairman of Real Good Food Company, comments: “In 2011 we delivered on our commitment to return to growth in sales and profitability. We are now embarking on an exciting period designed to transform the scale of the group over the next three years. This strategy is rooted in robust plans produced by each individual business and we have restructured the group to support these.” Real Good Food Company is aiming to double sales over the next three years.

In April 2011 the board announced it was moving its year end from 31 December to 31 March to better align its financial reporting with its trading seasonality. The October to December period is especially busy generating most of the year’s operating profits (about 58% of EBITDA was generated in the 2011 calendar year). The January-March period is the group’s ‘quietest’ trading period with EBITDA typically around the break even level driven by the combination of the lowest sales levels in the year in this quarter with a relatively flat overhead base through the year.

This is evident in the trading comparatives with sales of £305.5 million for the 15 months to 31 March 2012, £56.5 million higher than the 12 months ended 31 December 2011 (£249.0 million) but profitability flat with EBITDA at £9.2 million and £9.1 million respectively.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Real Good Food Company Set For Major Expansion

Record Year For Greene King


UK regional brewer and pub group Greene King has delivering another set of record results. Revenue increased by 9.4% to reach a record £1.14 billion for the 52 weeks to April 29 2012 and operating profit before exceptionals rose by 6.4% to a record £236.2 million. Profit before tax and exceptionals advanced by 8.6% to £152.0 million – another record.

Greene King’s Brewing & Brands division increased total volume, including third party drink sales, by 8.1% leading to revenue growth of 5.0% to £173.8 million. Operating profit slipped 0.3% to £33.0 million. Full year investment in Greene King’s core ale brands increased by 7.2%, leading to another year of strong market out performance for Brewing & Brands. Most significantly, the group re-launched Greene King IPA, the UK’s leading cask ale brand, including its first national TV advertising for five years. Greene King also increased its investment in innovation with the launch of a number of new brands and brand extensions including Old Golden Hen and Belhaven Black.

Greene King Retail, the group’s biggest and fastest growing business, generated 71% of total revenue and 63% of group profit in the year. At the year-end, there were 954 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK, split between Destination Pubs for its branded, food-led destinational sites and Local Pubs, for unbranded, more wet-led community sites. All sites are either branded or clearly segmented by customer occasion.

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King, comments: “Consumer confidence remains weak and volatile. This is driving the UK consumer to seek out ‘everyday treats’, rather than ‘big ticket’ items. With no economic recovery on the horizon, we anticipate another tough 12 months ahead of us, although we are confident of benefitting from the exciting summer in Britain, including the Olympics in August, notwithstanding the unpredictable weather.”

He continues: “This predisposition to ‘everyday treats’ is helping the industry to deliver steady growth. In 2011, the £22 billion drinking out market grew 1.7% in value terms and it is expected to grow by 2.5% per annum between 2011 and 2015. The £42 billion eating out market was up 2.4% in value terms in 2011 and is expected to grow by 3.4% per annum between 2011 and 2015. And the £43 billion staying out market was up 2.9% in 2011 and is expected to grow by 0.1% in 2012.”

 

Posted in NewsComments Off on Record Year For Greene King

Profits Slump at Warburtons


Rising raw materials costs and a decline in the UK bakery market have impacted on the financial performance of Warburtons. Pre-tax profits at the UK’s largest independent baker fell by more than a third from £26 million to £16.3 million for the year ended September 24, 2011 as turnover edged ahead from £492 million to £495 million.

According to Warburtons, trading conditions worsened during the year and the bakery market declined in both value and volume. The company’s main focus remains on growing share of the bakery business in Great Britain, which it realises can only be achieved by developing new product ranges alongside its current market leading lines.

Warburtons introduced a number of new products during its last financial year, including wraps and flatbreads, and also started exporting to Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland for the first time. The Bolton-based baker, which produces more than two million loaves, rolls and crumpets every day, is currently considering export sales opportunities in France and Spain.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Profits Slump at Warburtons

Sale of Wiseman Stake Lifts First Milk


UK dairy co-operative First Milk has delivered a robust performance and solid financial results for the year to 31 March 2012. Pre-tax profits increased from £7.2 million in 2011 to £13.3 million but £9.6 million of this figure relates to the profit made on the sale of First Milk’s shareholding in Robert Wiseman Dairies, which has been acquired by Mullar Dairy (UK).

Group turnover increased by 1% £579 million. During the year First Milk increased the milk prices paid to its farmers – farmers in the liquid pool saw their price increased by 2.9ppl, whilst those in the cheese and balancing pools saw their prices increase by 2.98ppl.

First Milk is committed to rewarding its members for the money that they have invested in the business. In the last 12 months the dairy co-operative has made two payments, in July 2011 and January 2012, which together represent a return of 6% on members’ capital for the year.

Net debt rose during the year by £3 million to £47 million, mainly as a result of increased stocks required to facilitate the growth in the sales in the company’s Lake District Cheese brand, investments at manufacturing sites and the acquisition of Kingdom Cheese and Kingdom Dairies, but reduced in February 2012 following the sale of the Wiseman stake.

£6.3 million was invested in capital projects during 2011/12 and First Milk is continuing to invest at all its sites to drive efficiencies. During the financial year First Milk was also able to recruit 195 million litres of new milk.

“We have set out a clear path to develop First Milk into an added value food business and 2011/12 was notable for the opportunities we realised, as well as the delivery of a robust financial performance in tough market conditions,” comments Bill Mustoe, chairman of First Milk. “Over the last 12 months we have bought two businesses – a soft and grated cheese operation in Fife and a sports nutrition business in Manchester. These purchases have not only enabled us to diversify our product and customer base, but most importantly they provide a broader platform to drive cash for our farmer shareholders.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Sale of Wiseman Stake Lifts First Milk

Emerging Markets Drive SABMiller


SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, has reported an 11% increase in revenue to $31.4 billion and a 12% rise in EBITA to $5.6 billion, with underlying lager volumes up 3% to 229 million hectolitres, reflecting particularly strong growth in Latin America and Africa.

EBITA increased by 8% on an organic, constant currency basis, with all beverage divisions except for Europe contributing to growth. EBITA margin was 10 bps ahead of the prior year at 17.9%. Europe EBITA declined 9% due to lower volumes, adverse mix and increased raw material costs.

In December 2011, SABMiller completed the acquisition of Foster’s in Australia. SABMiller has also entered a strategic alliance with Castel in Africa.

In March 2012, SABMiller completed a strategic alliance with Anadolu Group and Anadolu Efes, exchanging its Russia and Ukraine beer businesses for a 24% equity stake in the enlarged Anadolu Efes group. Anadolu Efes is now the vehicle for both groups’ investments in Turkey, Russia, the CIS, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Looking ahead, Graham Mackay, chief executive of SABMiller, comments: “Trading conditions are expected to be broadly unchanged with further growth in our developing markets but no more than modest improvements in consumer spending in some more developed economies. We will continue to develop and differentiate our brand portfolios, taking opportunities to improve sales mix and raise prices selectively. Unit input costs are expected to rise in mid-single digits in constant currency terms.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Emerging Markets Drive SABMiller

Dairies Business Behind Loss at Dairy Crest


Although revenue increased, due to strong growth in its Foods business, and group operating profits levels were maintained, UK dairy group Dairy Crest has reported a pre-tax loss of £10.1 million for the year ended 31 March 2012. Dairy Crest’s revenue rose by 2% to £1.63 billion during the year, with its Foods business growing sales by 10% supported by continued progress from its five key brands, which increased sales by 11%, boosted by a strong performance by Cathedral City cheese. However, revenue at the Dairies business fell by 2%.

Despite the challenging trading conditions, Dairy Crest managed to maintain adjusted profit before tax at £87.4 million but exceptional non-cash impairment charges in Dairies of £81.7 million resulted in a reported loss.

Mark Allen, chief executive of Dairy Crest, comments: “Dairy Crest’s results for the year demonstrate the continued benefit of being a broadly based business. Double digit growth in our branded Spreads and Cheese businesses has offset unsatisfactory results in Dairies. We have maintained adjusted group profits despite facing inflationary cost pressures of around £80 million this year by making annualised cost savings of around £22 million and achieving selling price increases. This has been made possible by a programme of consistent investment in developing our key brands and building a modern, efficient supply chain.”

Since the year end, Dairy Crest has announced a series of measures to restore its Dairies business to a satisfactory level of profitability in the medium term. In March 2012, Dairy Crest commenced a strategic review of its French spreads business, St Hubert, which is progressing.

Mark Allen adds: “In the current financial year, we are seeing continued strong momentum in our Foods businesses and we expect Dairies to benefit from the decisive action we are taking and our continued discipline on costs.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Dairies Business Behind Loss at Dairy Crest

Solid Interim Performance by Britvic


Britvic, the UK-based soft drinks group, has increased revenue by 1.7% to £641.1 million for the 28 weeks ended 15 April 2012 but EBITA declined 6.9% to £41.9 million and margins slipped 60bps to 6.5% due to the impact of higher raw material costs and continuing problems at its Irish business. Profit before tax sank 10.5% to £24.8 million.

During the first half Britvic increased group volumes by 1.9% to 1.1 billion litres and achieved revenue growth in its GB, France and International business units. However, the business in Ireland continued to have a negative impact on the group’s overall performance. Indeed, Britvic faces a challenging trading environment characterised by fragile consumer confidence in its three core markets of  GB, France and Ireland.

GB revenue rose by 2.4% to £430.9 million with comparable volume growth of 2.9%. Britvic France revenue advanced 6.4% to £123.1 million, led by strong price growth of 11.5%, as volumes were down 4.6% in the first half of the year. The International business unit delivered revenue growth of 13% to £14.4 million, driven by US Fruit Shoot and expansion into new states, including Texas.

Although volumes edged up 0.5%, revenue fell by 10% to £ 72.7 million at Britvic Ireland. The Irish soft drinks market remains challenging and shows no sign of recovery in the near term, according to Britvic. Britvic is taking further action on costs to mitigate the declining top line and to create a long term, sustainable and profitable business.

“Despite the challenging economic environment, Britvic has delivered a robust performance and made encouraging progress on key initiatives,” says Paul Moody, chief executive of Britvic. “Revenues increased for the group, GB, International and France, delivering improved cash flow, enabling a reduction in debt and a proposed further increase in the interim dividend.”

Looking ahead, he comments: “Although the GB soft drinks market in April and early May has been adversely impacted by the poor weather, Britvic has continued to grow market share and with the key summer months ahead, we currently, remain comfortable with delivering the full year performance in line with our expectations.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Solid Interim Performance by Britvic

Uniq Acquisition Boosts Greencore


Buoyed by the acquisition of Uniq, UK and Irish convenience foods group Greencore has increased revenue by 49.9% to £567.7 million and group operating profit by 36.7% to £31.7 million for the 26 weeks ended 30 March 2012. Revenue from continuing activity rose by 9.3% with the Convenience Foods division ahead by 9.7%. However, group operating margin slipped by 50bps to 5.6%, resulting from the incorporation of Uniq.

“Our business has performed strongly in the first half of 2012. The acquisition of  Uniq last year has reshaped our group and we are on track to deliver all of the targeted integration benefits,” comments Patrick Coveney, chief executive of Greencore.

Greencore has also made further progress in the US with the acquisition of MarketFare Foods. “This acquisition represents the next step in building a business of real scale in theUSand strengthens our position in the food to go/convenience store channel,” he adds.

Patrick Coveney does not expect to see any material improvement in the trading environment in the UK in the second half and has yet to see a material easing in inflationary pressure. “Notwithstanding these pressures, we continue to target good underlying revenue growth and strong growth in adjusted earnings per share,” he says

Posted in NewsComments Off on Uniq Acquisition Boosts Greencore

Robust Performance by Cranswick


UK food group Cranswick has recorded its highest ever sales and second best trading profit in its history for the year ended 31 March 2012, despite strong raw material price increases early in the financial year and a continued challenging environment for the consumer.

Underlying sales rose 10% in the year to £821 million, reflecting growth across most product sectors but especially in sales of bacon, fresh pork and sausages. Operating profit dropped 5% to £46.7 million but pre-tax profit rose 3% to £ 48.4 million after a non-recurring gain of £2.6 million.

Cash flow in the period remained robust notwithstanding the investment in the company’s asset base of £20 million to expand production capacity, improve efficiency and broaden the product range. Cranswick has well invested facilities which, across the sectors in which it operates, are amongst the most efficient production sites in the UK.

Bernard Hoggarth, chief executive of Cranswick, will be standing down from his position at the forthcoming annual general meeting, to be held on 1 August 2012, and will take up the part-time role of commercial director. Adam Couch, currently chief operating offices, will then succeed him as chief executive. Adam Couch has been with Cranswick for over 20 years.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Robust Performance by Cranswick

Sales and Profits Increase at Milk Link


UK dairy co-operative Milk Link has produced a solid financial and trading performance over the last year. Group turnover increased by 7.1% to £628 million and EBITDA rose 15.4% to £33.7 million for the year ended 31st March 2012.

Milk Link lifted comparable profit before tax up by 42.7% to £14.3 million and the Member milk price increased by 2.5ppl during the year bringing the standard litre price to 28.5ppl. This meant that in comparison to the previous year Milk Link generated and paid out an additional £33.7 million to its Members for their milk.

Group borrowings rose by £2.1 million to £82 million. However, at the same time capital expenditure increased to £10.0 million compared to £5.5 million in the prior year.

“Despite an extremely difficult trading environment the group’s financial performance again strengthened,” says Neil Kennedy, chief executive of Milk Link. “During the year we benefited from strong commodity prices for our skimmed milk powder, cream, curd and whey products; from an increase in milk production from our Members and long term ‘direct’ suppliers; from cost savings resulting from the implementation of rigorous efficiency and productivity programmes across all areas of the business and from our continuing emphasis on cash, stock and debt management. Nevertheless, the results also reflect that Milk Link’s trading performance in our main retail and foodservice markets held up well despite highly challenging conditions. Indeed, sales both in terms of value and volume increased year on year in relation to our core Cheddar business, speciality cheese and flavoured milks.”

Milk Link has also been strengthening its processing business for the longer term by undertaking its largest capital investment programme to date. During the year, Milk Link completed two major investment programmes. The first was, as a result of a £12.5 million joint venture with Volac, the development of a state-of-the- art whey processing plant at Milk Link’s Taw Valley Creamery in Devon. A new £4 million production facility at the Trevarrian Creamery in North Cornwall was also completed by year end and to budget which has substantially increased the capacity of the creamery to meet a growing demand from major retailers and foodservice providers for its premium soft cheeses.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Sales and Profits Increase at Milk Link

Good Interim Performance by Marston’s


Growth across its three divisions has helped Marston’s, the UK regional brewer and pub operator, to increase group revenue by 7.6% to £342.1 million and underlying profit before tax by 14.7% to £33.5 million for the 26 weeks ended March 31st 2012. The improved performance was achieved in a challenging consumer environment, with above market rates of growth in the managed pubs, tenanted and franchised pubs, and brewing divisions.

Total brewing revenue increased by 6.6% to £53.6 million, reflecting strong performances in the off-trade and the independent free trade. Underlying operating profit increased by 2.7% to £7.5 million. Overall ale volumes were up 2% on last year, with bottled ale volumes up 10% and premium cask ale volumes up 2%. Marston’s has grown its share in both the premium cask ale and bottled ale categories. Approximately 75% of its own-brewed beers are now sold to third parties, up 1% on last year.

The managed pubs division increased like-for-like sales by 3.6% and operating profit by 6.8%. Operating profit at the tenanted and franchised pubs division rose by 3.1%.

“We have delivered a good performance in the first half year against a weak consumer backdrop, “comments Ralph Findlay, chief executive of Marston’s. “Our growth in revenue and earnings was underpinned by our strategic focus on delivering value, high service standards and a quality offering to our consumers and customers. Our confidence that we are well positioned for the future is reflected in our declared dividend increase.”

Marston’s has an estate of around 2,150 pubs situated nationally, comprising tenanted, leased, franchised and managed pubs. It is the UK’s leading brewer of premium cask and bottled ales, including Marston’s Pedigree and Hobgoblin. The beer portfolio also includes Banks’s, Jennings, Wychwood, Ringwood, Brakspear and Mansfield beers. Marston’s employs around 12,000 people throughout England and Wales.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Good Interim Performance by Marston’s

Robust Performance by C&C Group


C&C Group, the Irish and UK branded cider and beer business, has increased operating profit before exceptional items by 9% to Eur111.2 million for 2012, despite a 4.8% drop in net revenue to Eur480.8 million. Operating margins improved to 23.1% up 2.9 ppts reflecting the group’s strategic focus on driving brand value and greater operational efficiencies. This operating margin improvement was achieved without reducing the level of brand investment, with C&C Group continuing to invest approximately 13% of net revenue behind its key brands.

The Magners brand delivered positive volume and revenue growth in the competitive cider market in Great Britain and export volume growth of 28% principally driven by North American and Australian markets. The Tennent’s lager brand grew operating profits by 22.5% in the year; with Irish volumes rising by 64%.

Although group volumes declined 10.5%, the positive impact of brand mix reduced the net revenue decline to 4.8%, on a constant currency basis. Both the Republic of Ireland and GB markets experienced on-trade volume declines as consumer sentiment remained weak, while continued off-trade promotional activity and the challenge of new entrants resulted in another competitive year across the cider and beer categories.

Stephen Glancey, chief executive of C&C Group.

However, the group’s well invested brands and market positions enabled it to grow operating profits in the year supported by tight cost control and ongoing innovation. In addition, the group improved its operational efficiencies by securing new third party packaging contracts.

C&C Group has also continued to expand its international cider business during the year with the acquisition of the Hornsby’s brand in the United States and with the contracting of new distribution agreements in key markets for its core Magners brand.

“This has been a robust year for the group,” says Stephen Glancey, chief executive of C&C Group. “C&C is now a focused cider-led LAD business. While we remain cautious about the near term prospects of our core markets, the continuing global growth of the cider category, and C&C’s unique position within the sector, underscore our belief in the prospects of our business. C&C’s balance sheet strength and free cash flow characteristics will enable us to capitalise on organic and acquisition growth opportunities.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Robust Performance by C&C Group

Robust Performance by Danish Crown


Danish Crown, Europe’s largest meat processor, has reported a 1.2% decline in first half profit to DKr733 million (Eur98.6 million), chiefly due to increasing commodity prices. Consolidated revenue increased from DKr24.7 billion in the first half of the previous year, to DKr27.6 billion, reflecting organic growth as well as the acquisition of D&S Fleisch in Germany and Parkham Foods in the UK

”When commodity prices go up, it is our responsibility to ensure that this is reflected in the end prices, but there is a slight delay in the market which means that the price increases do not take place concurrently in the various parts of the value chain,” explains Preben Sunke, chief finance officer of Danish Crown.

The results also reflect increasing earnings by the Pork Division, but in a cautious market. ”We are noting a certain hesitation among consumers in several parts of the world, and although we are largely able to adapt to new trends, for example an increasing demand for inexpensive cuts or different product mixes, we are very much aware of this trend,” he says.

Danish Crown is Europe´s largest pig slaughtering business and the world’s largest exporter of pork. It is also Denmark´s largest cattle slaughterhouse company.

”Together with the uncertainty about future demand, turbulence in the financial markets is also a factor to be reckoned with when engaging in cross-border trading.” Preben Sunke adds: “Given the state of the market and the intensifying competition, the results are satisfactory and testament to Danish Crown’s stability and adaptability, also in response to sudden new developments.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Robust Performance by Danish Crown

Destocking in Russia Impacts on Carlsberg’s Profits


Carlsberg Group has reported a 2.8% rise in revenue to DKr12.9 billon (Eur1.7 billion) but operating profit declined by 43% to DKr574 million for its first quarter as volumes falls in Russia, due to destocking, offset solid growth in Northern & Western Europe and in Asia.

Northern & Western Europe and Asia achieved operating profit growth in spite of slightly higher cost of sales and higher sales and marketing investments due to different phasing than last year. Profits in Eastern Europe declined mainly due to lower volumes, slightly higher cost of sales and different phasing of sales and marketing investments compared to previous year.

The Carlsberg Group grew market shares in Northern & Western Europe and Asia during the quarter. InEastern Europe, its Russian market share improved slightly compared to Q4 2011 but declined as expected versus Q1 2011.

Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, chief executive of Carlsberg Group, comments: “2012 is a year where focus, prioritisation and efficiency are key in everything we do. We are focusing our commercial activities behind our most important brands and events. We are putting significant resources behind the EURO 2012 sponsorship, which will be a key driver behind the support of the repositioning and the growth of the Carlsberg brand in 2012. In addition, the rejuvenation of the Tuborg brand will support the brand growth through improved performance in existing markets, as well as through introductions into new growth markets such as China.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Destocking in Russia Impacts on Carlsberg’s Profits

Glanbia Remains On Track


Glanbia, the international nutritional solutions and cheese group, has reported that international demand for dairy products has remained solid in the first three months of 2012, supported by demand from developing economies. Prices for most dairy categories have weakened in the year to date, mainly due to an oversupply of milk resulting from sustained good weather in most milk producing regions. Similarly, US cheese prices have also declined in response to strong US milk production. Robust demand for higher end whey products continues, reflecting very good demand across all sectors of nutritionals, with prices firm in the face of tight short-term supply of these key ingredients.

In the first quarter, to the period end 31 March 2012, Glanbia’s total revenue grew 1.9% when compared with the first three months of 2011. Volume was down 1.5% as lower volumes in Dairy Ingredients and Agribusiness more than offset growth in Global Nutritionals. Overall pricing was up 3.4% driven by higher year on year pricing in Global Nutritionals.

John Moloney, group managing director of Glanbia, comments: “The group is performing in line with expectations in what is a more challenging operating environment this year. We expect to deliver earnings in the first half of 2012 which are broadly similar to an exceptionally strong first half in 2011. We are successfully driving growth in nutritionals and the depth and strength of the portfolio in these dynamic growth sectors positions Glanbia well for the future. We remain focused on strong cost management and operational execution across the business. We reiterate our full year guidance of 5% to 7% growth in adjusted earnings per share, on a constant currency basis, for 2012.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Glanbia Remains On Track

Strong Sales Performance by Remy Cointreau


French drinks group Remy Cointreau has reported a 13% increase in full year turnover to Eur1.03 billion, including a 21.9% rise in Remy Martin sales to Eur592.5 million. All regions of the world contributed to the increase, with double-digit organic growth in the US and Asia. The strong results were driven by the move up market of the group’s brand portfolio and a particularly effective distribution network.

“This performance confirms the group’s strategic orientation initiated over the past years – a distribution structure, in close proximity to the markets and a growth strategy focused on the premium segment, supported by innovation with strong yet targeted investment behind our brands, in order to reinforce our long-term value strategy,” comments Jean-Marie Laborde, chief executive of Remy Cointreau. “This year, Remy Cointreau has, once again, demonstrated a capacity for growth by combining the attraction of its brands and the efficiency of its distribution network. We will continue the deliberate move of our products up market and the quality of the work we carry out in our markets.”

Remy Martin performed strongly throughout the financial year with 25.1% organic turnover growth to Eur592.5 million and double-digit growth for the third consecutive year, as it continued to improve its position in the global market.

Liqueurs and Spirits saw a recovery with renewed organic growth of 5.1% to Eur215.8 million after a number of more difficult years. All brands reported growth in the 2011/12 financial year. Cointreau achieved growth in key markets such as the US, as well as in Japan and in emerging markets such as Brazil and Mexico. Mount Gay Rum and Metaxa (on the back of weak comparatives due to the Greek crisis) recorded growth in their respective markets.

Partner Brands posted organic growth of 4.1% to Eur217.8 million. The growth in brands distributed for Remy Cointreau’s partners was primarily driven by Scotch whiskies in the US and the Travel Retail segment. The champagne business continued its development, particularly, Piper-Heidsieck.

The favourable movement in the US dollar over the second half of the year continued to narrow the variance between organic and published growth. Remy Cointreau confirms a substantial increase in its full-year results, with significant double-digit growth in current operating profit to the end of March 2012.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Strong Sales Performance by Remy Cointreau

Sugar Drives Associated British Foods


Buoyed by strong performances from its sugar business and its Primark retail arm, Associated British Foods has reported a 3% rise in profit before tax to £329 million on group revenue up 11% to £5.77 billion for the 24 weeks ended March 3rd 2012. AB Sugar increased revenue by 17% to £1.2 billion and operating profit by 59% to £172 million over the previous year. This was driven by a strong increase in the UK, further improvement in Spain and a better performance from Illovo.

In the UK, sugar production for the full year is expected to be 1.3 million tonnes, compared to just under 1.0 million tonnes last year which fell short of sales quota. British Sugar’s interim profit was well ahead of last year reflecting an excellent sugar beet campaign, strong factory performance and higher EU prices.

ABF’s grocery revenue increased by 4% to £1.81 billion but operating profit fell by 31% to £75 million, primarily due to restructuring costs at George Weston Foods in Australia and Allied Bakeries in the UK, margin declines at Allied Bakeries and higher than expected costs of operating the Castlemaine meat factory in Australia.

Allied Bakeries is continuing to roll out the largest capital development programme within the UK bakery industry to improve manufacturing efficiency and upgrade product quality. Construction of the new bread plant and bulk handling at the Stockport bakery is well under way and due to begin commissioning in June. A rationalisation charge has been taken for the closure of two smaller bakeries and the cost of further overhead reduction.

Ingredients revenue increased by 2% to £538 million during the first half but operating profit declined by 42% to £18 million as the challenges experienced by the yeast and bakery ingredients business, seen particularly in the second half of last year, continued. Operating profit was adversely affected in a number of regions by input cost pressures, increased competition and volume weakness. The performance in Europe was adversely affected by increased competition which has made price increases to recover higher input costs difficult to achieve. Bakery ingredients in Spain continued to grow and commissioning of a new plant in Cordoba is expected at the end of the financial year. A rationalisation charge has been taken for a reduction in overhead in the European region.

Primark achieved strong first half revenue growth of 15% to reach sales of £1.62 billion but operating profit rose by a more modest 2% to £154 million.

Looking ahead to the second half of the year, AB Sugar’s investment over recent years, its focus on maximising capacity utilisation and operational efficiency and the strength of regional sugar prices, are expected to drive the full year profit for sugar well ahead of last year. This, together with solid profit growth from Primark in the second half, is expected to more than offset the lower profit in grocery and ingredients.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Sugar Drives Associated British Foods

Dairygold Reports Strong 2011 Performance


Strong returns from international dairy markets and increasing on farm milk production, which created higher processing throughputs, helped Dairygold, the Irish farmers co-operative, to generate an operating profit on its core activities of Eur22.6 million for 2011, a 19.6% increase on the 2010 figure. Dairygold’s optimisation of its product and customer mix, together with improved operating efficiencies helped to increase profitability.

Turnover in 2011 was Eur757.8 million – up 9.3% on the previous year. The increase was generated across the main business activities of dairy processing and agri trading.

Dairygold’s dairy processing division (Dairygold Food Ingredients) had a strong year. Dairygold has well invested and highly efficient processing facilities which benefited from investments of over Eur60 million in the last four years. The investment included an upgrade at Dairygold’s ingredients facility at Mitchelstown to facilitate the increased supply requirements of the expanded Danone infant formula facility at Macroom.

Dairygold chief executive Jim Woulfe comments: “In the dairy operations, improved markets and the higher throughput increased turnover and this along with continuous improvement in efficiencies helped to deliver improved results. The agri operations benefitted from increased on-farm activity which helped the performance of the fertiliser and feed businesses.”

In 2011 Dairygold invested a total of Eur33.9 million in the business – Eur15.4 million in capital expenditure and Eur18.5 million in acquiring a portfolio of strategic property assets from Reox Holdings. The co-op’s net debt was reduced by Eur13.6 million before the investment of Eur18.5 million on the acquisition of a portfolio of assets from Reox Holdings, which increased the net debt by Eur4.9 million to Eur67.2m at the year end.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Dairygold Reports Strong 2011 Performance

Profits and Revenues Rise at Lakeland Dairies


Lakeland Dairies, Ireland’s second largest dairy processing co-operative, has reported an 18% increase in revenues to Eur472 million and a 52% rise in operating profit to €6.85 million for the year ended 31st December 2011.Lakeland exports to over 70 countries offering some 170 branded dairy products to customers. In 2011,Lakeland processed over 700 million litres of milk into a range of value added dairy food service products and food ingredients.

“While global economic and trading conditions continued to be difficult, it has been an excellent year for Lakeland Dairies where we are benefiting from our recent investments in advanced processing capabilities together with focused and intensive business development activities,” says Michael Hanley, chief executive of Lakeland Dairies.

He continues: “During the year, we further developed our market leading presence in Europe and expanded our position as the dairy foodservice market leader in the United Kingdom and in Ireland. We delivered specialist, value added products to the global foodservice, confectionery, bakery and other food industry sectors.  We are market leaders in emulsion technology where we provide dairy based products that delight our customers through their functionality and taste qualities in foods, whether that is in restaurants or retail.”

The turnover figure of Eur472 million was underpinned by strong sales, a maximised milk processing throughput, enhanced logistical capabilities and an ongoing operational efficiency programme across the organisation. This contributed to a further strengthening of the balance sheet with shareholders’ funds of Eur81 million at year-end.

Looking ahead, Michael Hanley comments: “The global economy has slowed with markets facing considerable uncertainties. Prices remain under pressure as food companies compete to retain market share among cost conscious consumers. There is also a global oversupply with surplus product coming onto the market from New Zealand and the United States in particular.  This will place significant pressure on milk processing returns throughout the year.  A weaker euro is required to make Irish exports more competitive. However, with continuing sales and volume increases we still anticipate further solid progress by Lakeland Dairies.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Profits and Revenues Rise at Lakeland Dairies

Double-digit Profit and Sales Growth at Hilton Food Group


Despite the difficult economic conditions, Hilton Food Group, Europe’s leading specialist retail meat packing business supplying major international food retailers in twelve countries, made good progress during 2011. The group has reported a 10% rise in profit before tax to £24.5 million as it increased the volumes of meat packed by 6% and revenue by 14% to £981.3 million for 2011. Revenue growth was driven by the start-up of a new packing facility in Denmark and comparatively strong economic conditions in Sweden and Central Europe.

Volume growth of 6.0% reflected the new business in Denmark as underlying volumes were slightly reduced, due to pressure on consumer spending levels in the face of increased meat prices. Continued strong cash generation has enabled the UK-based meat group to maintain a high level of investment in equipment and facilities, to underpin the growth of its businesses over the longer term.

The group has a strong balance sheet, with net debt level at £18.7 million only marginally increased, despite capital expenditure of £25.2 million in 2011, which included £14.6 million on the new Danish facilities. Indeed, over the eight years to December 2011, Hilton has invested over £140 million on developing its packing and storage facilities.

74% of the group’s revenue is now generated outside the UK, with 77% of the volume of meat packed outside the UK, in Northern and Central European countries.

Robert Watson OBE, chief executive of Hilton Food Group, comments:  “Once again I am pleased to report that during 2011 Hilton has delivered a good performance, continuing to demonstrate the resilience of the group’s business model. Revenue growth was strong in 2011 and further success was achieved with new product and packaging initiatives. We have been able to maintain a high level of investment in our modern meat packing facilities across Europe, designed to keep them at state-of-the-art levels.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Double-digit Profit and Sales Growth at Hilton Food Group

Barry Callebaut Outperforms Chocolate Market But Profits Fall


Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high quality cocoa and chocolate products, increased its sales volume by 6.7% for the first half year ended February 29, 2012 to again outperform the worldwide chocolate confectionery market. All the company’s regions and product groups contributed to the volume growth.

Barry Callebaut reported a 3% rise (up 10.4% in local currencies) in sales revenues to SFr2.48 billion but operating profit (EBIT) fell 12.5% (5.5% in local currencies) to SFr175.1 million (Eur145 million).

Significant investments in operating structures to support further growth, ramp-up costs related to recent long-term partnership and outsourcing agreements, investments in the growth of the Gourmet & Specialties Products business as well as multiple capacity expansions led to higher operating expenses, negatively impacting EBIT. Net profit from continuing operations declined by 11.3% in local currencies (-18.0% in SFr) to SFr121.8 million.

In the second quarter, Barry Callebaut’s largest region, Europe, returned to positive growth rates and reported a strong volume increase of 3.0%, compared to -0.1% for the respective chocolate market. Overall, sales revenue in Region Europe rose by 4.7% in local currencies (-3.2% in SFr) to SFr1.17 billion. Higher factory and supply chain costs as well as investments in sales and promotion, primarily in the Gourmet business, impacted operating profit (EBIT), which decreased by 12.2% in local currencies (-18.2% in SFr) to SFr114.5 million. Barry Callebaut closed the sale of its European Consumer Products business Stollwerck in September 2011. This led to a non-recurring loss of SFr 31.7 million for the reported period.

In order to readjust the structures and processes after the sale of the Consumer Products business, Barry Callebaut will spend Eur30 million for a comprehensive reengineering project, called ‘Spring’, over the next two years. The main focus of Project Spring is on Western Europe. The company expects the restructuring to yield yearly recurring efficiency gains of at least Eur10 million.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Barry Callebaut Outperforms Chocolate Market But Profits Fall

Adnams Takes Long-term Approach


With beer volumes rising by 7%, British regional brewer and pub operator Adnams has increased operating profit (before exceptional items) by 2.8% to £3.3 million on sales up by 7.3% to £54.6 million for the 12 months to 31 December 2011. On the retail side of its business, profit per pub was up by 15% and like-for-like shop turnover was 13% higher.

“For many years Adnams has championed the importance of taking a long-term view,” explains chairman Jonathan Adnams (pictured). “We firmly believe that it is by taking a values-based approach to business, building trust and loyalty with our customers, employees and shareholders that we carve a path to sustainable business success. By investing for the long-term, we have been able to make reductions in our carbon emissions and it is this approach that has contributed to our being able to hold Adnams beer prices for the fourth consecutive year.”

He adds: “Despite sounding a note of caution about economic uncertainty, our response to the current conditions is to keep an eye on costs, but we will not be distracted from our long-term goals and will continue to invest for the future.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Adnams Takes Long-term Approach

Finsbury Reaches £100 Million Interim Sales Milestone


Finsbury Food Group, a leading UK manufacturer of cake, bread and morning goods, has increased revenue by 16% to £102 million for the six months ended 31st December 2011 to pass the £100 million interim sales milestone for the first time. Profit before tax grew by £0.3 million to £2.2 million.

The group achieved growth across each of its businesses. Sales in the Bread & Free From division of £25.6 million represent an increase of 8% on the comparable period last year. This was again driven by strong growth in the fresh gluten free market and the speciality bread market from the Genius/retailer brands and the Vogel’s brands respectively.

John Duffy, chief executive of Finsbury Food Group.

Sales in the larger Cake division were up 19% to £76.4 million. The UK market and export sales have both shown growth although the former has continued to require increased promotional support to remain competitive and deliver growth in the current marketplace.

John Duffy, chief executive of Finsbury Food Group, comments: “We are pleased to be reporting further growth across each of the Finsbury businesses. This is particularly noteworthy considering the pressure we are seeing from high commodity and input price inflation. With this in mind, we are focused on driving both efficiency and productivity to mitigate against the negative margin impact of these pressures, and believe that the measures we are taking will continue to bear fruit.”

He adds: “Our priority is to further invest in the business to ensure that the growth momentum continues and look forward to both driving further shareholder value and reaching our next sales milestone.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Finsbury Reaches £100 Million Interim Sales Milestone

Strong Financial Performance By AG Barr


Despite the challenging trading environment, AG Barr has increased revenue and volume ahead of the UK soft drinks market to produce a strong profit performance. Turnover increased by 6.6% to £237.0 million for the year ended January 28th 2012 – a cumulative 27.6% increase in turnover over the last three years – and pre-tax profits, excluding exceptional items, increased by 6.2% to £33.6m reflecting the benefits of sales volume and value enhancing revenue growth and strong cost containment measures. Post exceptional items, profit increased by 16.4% to £35.4 million. All core brands performed well, with particularly strong growth in the company’s exotic juice brands, Rubicon and KA.

AG Barr delivered growth across both the carbonates and stills segments. In stills, AG Barr grew revenue by 9.4% against a market performance of 3.8%. This was primarily driven by growth and innovation in the exotic juice drinks brands – Rubicon and KA. AG Barr is continuing with its strategy of concentrating investment around the core brands Irn-Bru, Barr, Rubicon and KA.

Roger White, chief executive of AG Barr.

“AG Barr has demonstrated its resilience in the face of challenging market conditions, in particular coping with substantial raw material cost headwinds while achieving revenue growth based on brand development, innovation and improved focus on execution,” says Roger White, chief executive of AG Barr. “Our operational performance improved substantially in the final quarter of last year and we are now beginning to see the benefits of our investment in our production assets. We are further reinforcing our confidence in our future growth prospects with the confirmation of our plans to invest in a new site, with substantial future capacity, in the Milton Keynes area.”

He continues: “We anticipate 2012 will be another challenging year in the UK, with household disposable incomes remaining under pressure. Despite this, we remain confident that our financial strength, backed up with strong sales momentum across our core brands, excellent innovation and our anticipated capital investment programme will facilitate further good progress.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Strong Financial Performance By AG Barr

Another Strong Performance From Stock Spirits Group


Stock Spirits Group, Central Europe’s leading branded spirits and liqueurs business, has reported a 4.1% increase in EBITDA to a record Eur63.9 million on a like-for-like basis for 2011. On a constant currency basis, EBITDA rose by 6% but revenue at Eur295.1 million was slightly down on a like-for-like basis compared to the Eur301.9 million generated in 2010.

Stock Spirits Group retained spirits market leadership in Poland with a 34% market share during the year and also managed to improve margin to offset market volume decline and cost increases, through focus on profitable products, selective price increases and a better marketing mix. The group also strengthened its market leadership position in Czech Republic, with overall share growth to 40%, and grew market share in Italy within a very challenging market.

Significant brand and NPD investment was made during the year to continue the expansion of the portfolio. This entailed meeting consumer demand for new flavoured vodkas through strong growth in Lubelska, including the successful launch of the blackcurrant variant and recently launched grapefruit flavour and Lubelska Three Grain clear.

Stock Spirits Group also successfully secured new banking facilities during the year to strengthen its financial position. The refinancing consists of a Eur220 million facility, including funding for acquisitions.

Chris Heath, chief executive of Stock Spirits Group, comments: “Against a very challenging market backdrop, I am delighted that we have been able to deliver another very strong set of results in 2011, continuing our unbroken record of profit growth each year. Faced with falling market volumes and significant input cost increases, it is important that we were well positioned to capitalise on the strength of our brands, taking the lead on market pricing and managing our product and marketing mix to deliver margin growth. We are particularly pleased to have maintained, and in some cases extended, the leading positions of most of our core brands in our key markets and have continued with our successful track record of launching new products.”

He adds: “Despite the continued challenging market conditions, we remain confident that the group is well placed to take advantage of opportunities to grow the business further in 2012.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Another Strong Performance From Stock Spirits Group

Profits Plunge at Premier Foods


Premier Foods has reported a 29.3% drop in trading profit for ongoing business to £173.7 million for 2011 on sales down 3.4% to £1.81 billion. The UK food group has been disposing of assets to reduce its debt mountain. The sales of the Meat-free, Canned grocery and Brookes Avana businesses realised total net proceeds of £394 million and helped to cut net debt to £995.1 million at the 2011 year end.

Sales in the group’s Grocery division decreased by 7.4% to £1.10 billion during 2011 and trading profit declined by 19.1% to £170.3 million. Total sales for the Bread division increased 3.4% in 2011 to £711.3 million but trading profit collapsed from £35.3 million in 2010 to £3.4 million. Hovis bread branded market share was broadly flat during the year, while non-branded volumes were lower, partly as a result of a contract loss.

Michael Clarke, chief executive of Premier Foods.

Michael Clarke, chief executive of Premier Foods, comments: “2011 was clearly a challenging year for Premier Foods. Like many others in the industry, we felt the impact of significant commodity inflation and an unprecedented decline in consumer spending. Unfortunately,our price increases were not able to fully recover higher costs and were largely negated by higher promotional spending which affected margins. In addition, as consumers looked for greater value, we were unable to maintain demand for our brands due to reduced marketing investment. Retail customer support for our brands consequently declined in favour of our competitors and own label, a situation that was exacerbated by the effect of customer disputes.”

He continues: “Despite its significant scale, the group has been unable to fully exploit revenue and cost synergies. The business remains complex with insufficient focus and has additionally suffered from a lack of investment behind its brands and a short-term, tactical approach to trading. The need to service significant debt has compounded these challenges.”

Premier Foods has just successfully negotiated a re-financing of the business with banking facilities of £1.4 billion extended to June 2016 and banking covenants re-set to support the new management team’s strategic plan for turning the business around.

Premier Foods’ new growth plan entails concentrating marketing investment behind eight ‘Power Brands’. This investment will double in 2012 with sustainable increases planned in subsequent years. Premier Foods will also focus on building collaborative relationships with key customers to drive mutual growth, while targeting gross 4% year on year supply chain savings and doubling of overhead savings to more than £40 million by 2013.

However, the consumer environment in the UK remains challenging. “Consumers will continue to focus on value and convenience; and competition will again be intense,” Michael Clarke points out. “There is no doubt that we will need to work hard to make our brands stand out. Nevertheless, our performance thus far in 2012 is in line with our expectations. I’m convinced we have the right team to turn this business around and I am very positive about our future.”

To receive your free sample copy of Food & Drink Business Europe please complete Form on our Subscription Page

Posted in NewsComments Off on Profits Plunge at Premier Foods

Interim Profits Rise at Aryzta


Aryzta, the Switzerland-based global speciality bakery group, has reported a 3.3% rise in EBITA to Eur178.8 million on revenue up 0.9% to Eur1.91 billion for the six month period ended 31 January 2012, as its Food Group increased EBITA by 11.3% to Eur173.0 million and revenue by 9.4% to Eur1.40 billion.

Aryzta has operations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It is also the majority shareholder (71.4%) in Origin Enterprises, the agri-services group with interests in food and marine proteins and oils. Revenue at Origin Enterprises declined in the period by 17.0% to Eur507.4 million and EBITA fell by 66.8% to Eur5.9 million.

Aryzta’s Food Europe business increased EBITA by 12.4%.to Eur74.2 million on sales up by 7.5% to Eur629.0 million.

Owen Killian, chief executive of Aryzta, comments: “Underlying performance was robust despite challenging trading conditions. 2012 remains a critical year of transformation for Aryzta with significant ATI driven change underway across the group to enhance our customer centric focus. This, combined with our strengthened balance sheet, will enhance future shareholder value from growth with existing customers and sector consolidation opportunities.”

To receive your free sample copy of  Food & Drink Business News Europe please complete Form on our Subscription Page.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Interim Profits Rise at Aryzta

Global Brands Behind Solid Performance by Anheuser-Busch InBev


Anheuser-Busch InBev has increased revenue by 4.6% to $39.05 billion in 2011 as its three global brands of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s grew by 3.3%. However, total group volumes decreased 0.2% during the year, with own beer volumes decreasing 0.1%.

The world’s leading brewer grew EBITDA by 10.7% in nominal terms and 7.7% organically to $15.36 billion, with EBITDA margin expanding by 113 bps to 39.3%. Profit rose by 28.0% in nominal terms to $6.45 billion during 2011.

Anheuser-Busch InBev increased market share ahead of the previous year in Argentina, China, Germany, Belgium and Ukraine, but it was down in the UK and a slightly lower in Canada and Russia. In Brazil, share for the year declined but was still the second highest in ten years. In the United States, share contraction was concentrated in the group’s sub-premium brands, while its focus brands performed well in line with its brand strategies.

Anheuser-Busch InBev made significant progress towards its ambition for Budweiser to become the first truly global beer brand. Budweiser grew volume by 3.1% globally, with almost 44% of the brand’s sales now coming from outside the United States, compared to only 28% just three years ago.

Stella Artois continued its expansion with volume rising 5.9%, driven primarily by growth in the United States, Brazil and Argentina. The brand also performed solidly in the UK, where it benefited from the introduction of Stella Artois Cidre. Another big step forward was the introduction of Stella Artois in three major cities in China – Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. Growth has also continued in markets as diverse as Canada, Russia and Ukraine.

Beck’s global volumes grew by 0.8% in 2011, mainly driven by results in its home market of Germany, supported by good results in China.

Anheuser-Busch InBev is continuing to invest in future growth, building new breweries and upgrading existing facilities in markets as diverse as China, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Net capital expenditure for 2011 was $3.3 billion.

The group’s European businesses had mixed fortunes. Western Europe delivered a strong performance in 2011, with market share gains in all markets except the UK. Western European EBITDA improved 5.5% to $1.23 billion with margin improvement of 313 bps to 31.0%, largely driven by own beer volume growth and fixed cost management initiatives.

Central and Eastern Europe volumes decreased 4.0% during 2011 and EBITDA declined 31.5% to $225 million mainly due to higher commodity costs, distribution cost increases above inflation as a result of higher transport tariffs at the beginning of the year, and higher brand investments.

To receive your free sample copy of Food & Drink Business News Europe please complete Form on our Subscription Page.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Global Brands Behind Solid Performance by Anheuser-Busch InBev

Another Record Year For Nichols


Driven by its strong brands and international business, UK soft drinks company Nichols increased sales by 18% to £98.9 million in 2011 and profit before tax by 20% to £18.1 million. Nichols’ UK soft drinks sales outperformed the market, increasing by 15%, more than twice the market growth rate of 7%. Whilst Vimto remains the key brand, the company is also continuing the strategy of broadening the portfolio and in April 2011 launched the Levi Roots range of Caribbean drinks, which added an incremental £2.5 million sales in its first 9 months of trading.

With the economic downturn continuing to affect the UK consumer, the importance and strength of Nichols’ significant international business is evident. In 2011 total international sales grew by 31% against the prior year, sales to the Middle East were 24% higher on the back of strong in-country sales of the Vimto brand and African sales were up by 28%.

“2011 was another record year with an outstanding performance in the face of the most challenging UK retail environment seen in a decade,” comments John Nichols, non-executive chairman of Nichols. “While 2012 will remain challenging we are confident of delivering profitable growth in the current year and beyond.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Another Record Year For Nichols

Lindt & Sprungli Beats Sales and Earnings Targets


Swiss chocolate confectionery manufacturer Lindt & Sprungli has reported a 1.9% increase in net income to SFr246.5 million on group sales down a 3.5% to SFr2.49 billion for 2011 as adverse exchange rates impacted. However, on an organic basis, Lindt & Sprungli achieved sales growth of 6% to meet its strategic growth target, and improved its EBIT margin by 60 basis points to 13.2% to exceed its objective of improving annual earnings by 20 to 40 bps.

In flat to slightly declining chocolate markets, all the group’s subsidiary companies, with the exception of Australia, grew faster than their markets and consequently gained market shares. Indeed, Lindt & Sprungli outstripped the average organic growth of the group in its most important and biggest markets with Lindt and Ghirardelli in the USA and Lindt in Germanyand France. The strong franc and increasingly widespread economic weakness affected in particular exports from Switzerland and the Travel Retail business.

Despite the continuingly difficult and challenging trading environment, Lindt & Sprungli is maintaining its long-term targets which provide for annual organic growth of 6 to 8% with an increase of the EBIT margin by 20 to 40 basis points each year.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Lindt & Sprungli Beats Sales and Earnings Targets

Strong Performance By Glanbia


Reflecting strong performances from both its Irish and US operations, Glanbia, the global nutritional solutions and cheese group, has reported a 17.9% rise in operating profit to Eur161 million on revenue up 23.3% to Eur2.67 billion for the year ended December 31st 2011. Operating margin dropped 30 bps to 6% due largely to input cost pressures in performance nutrition.

On constant currency basis, Glanbia’s US Cheese & Global Nutritionals division increased revenue by 35% to Eur1.38 billion and operating profit pre exceptional increased 21.3% to Eur113.8 million. Glanbia has invested significant resources in recent years to develop and enhance its US Cheese & Global Nutritionals division. The acquisition and successful integration of BSN into Performance Nutrition complemented strong organic revenue growth during 2011.

Positive global dairy markets underpinned a solid performance by Dairy Ireland despite the challenges of the Consumer Products business. The Dairy Ireland business grew revenue by 19% to Eur1.35 billion and operating profit pre exceptional increased 23.2% to Eur53.6 million.

“Glanbia achieved excellent results in 2011 delivering 26.7% growth in adjusted earnings per share, on a constant currency basis,” says John Moloney, group managing director of Glanbia. “We expect the operating environment in 2012 to be more challenging than in recent years. Current global economic uncertainty has the potential to impact global dairy markets and fragile consumer confidence. The group’s focus on driving growth in nutritionals, combined with deep dairy market expertise and strong execution capability, position us well for the future. Our guidance for 2012 is for 5-7% growth in adjusted earnings per share, on a constant currency basis.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Strong Performance By Glanbia

Arla Foods Increases Revenue and Earnings


Despite continuing weak consumer confidence in Europe, where 80% of its business is based, Arla Foods achieved double digit growth in both revenue and earnings in 2011. Revenue rose by 12% to almost DKr55 billion (Eur7.4 billion) and Arla Foods increased the earnings for its 8,200 co-operative owners in Denmark, Sweden and Germanyby 11%, paying out a performance price of DKr2.80 for each kilogramme of milk supplied. During 2011, Arla also paid DKr1.6 billion more to the co-operative owners than in the previous year. The retained profit of DKr1.31 billion was up from DKr1.27 billion in 2010.

”These are strong results in a difficult time. Primarily because we have improved earnings for our owners to a level that is almost on par with the best we’ve ever delivered,” says Peder Tuborgh, chief executive of Arla Foods. “During an economic crisis, more consumers choose to buy discount products and fewer branded products. This has an effect on Arla’s earnings. But at the same time, we’re seeing a rising demand in markets outside Europe, which will offset the flattening growth in Europe.”

Arla’s brands helped it to grow outside Europe. Half of Arla’s revenue growth was through organic growth, in part driven by Arla’s three global brands – Arla, Lurpak and Castello. The Arla brand showed a significant growth of 8% in 2011, resulting in global revenues of DKr20.6 billion

Arla Foods has enjoyed success in new markets, particularly in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and Russia. It also made a major breakthrough in Germany during the year following the merger with Hansa-Milch and the acquisition of Allgäuland-Kasereien.

Peder Tuborgh, chief executive of Arla Foods.

Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI), which is responsible for Arla’s global production of whey, whey proteins and ingredients for the food industry, had a strong year and was one of Arla’s most profitable business areas. Despite the rise in raw material prices, AFI succeeded in launching new products and increasing revenues by 25%.

Although Arla Foods expects to maintain growth in 2012, the year ahead will be challenging. “While 2011 was a good year for Arla, the last quarter showed slight pressure on performance, reflecting a deteriorating business environment in Europe, which has continued into 2012. We expect significant revenue growth and for profits to be on par with 2011 albeit with fluctuations in the milk price for our co-operative owners over the year,” says Peder Tuborgh.

He continues: “To secure the top-line expansion effectively converts to the bottom-line, we’re working on all fronts to improve our internal efficiency. For the group as a whole, we’re focusing on growing revenues considerably faster than costs. We’re making progress in this direction, but there’s still some way to go. We’re focusing, therefore, on creating a more structured and less complex way of working, and we expect to launch some specific initiatives in 2012.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Arla Foods Increases Revenue and Earnings

Kerry Group’s Trading Profits Reach €500 Million Milestone


Despite the tough trading environment, Kerry Group, the global ingredients, flavours and consumer foods manufacturer, has increased trading profit by 7.1% on a like-for-like basis to Eur5001 million on sales up 6.4% to Eur5.3 billion for the year ended 31st December 2011.

The group’s ingredients & flavours businesses grew steadily in all regions benefiting from Kerry’s breadth and depth of technology and 1 Kerry approach to market development providing industry-leading integrated solutions.  Sales revenue increased on a reported basis by 8.5% to Eur3.71 billion, reflecting 7.7% like-for-like growth. Business volumes grew by 4% and pricing/mix increased by 3.8%. Trading profit increased by 9.4% like-for-like to Eur439 million with the division’s trading margin improved by 10 basis points to 11.9%.

While consumer spending remains constrained due to fiscal pressures, demands for all-natural and clean label solutions continue to grow as does the requirement for healthy reformulation, well-being and diet-specific offerings.

Cost recovery in Kerry Group’s consumer foods markets inIrelandand the UK proved more challenging due to the prevailing economic situation and level of price promotional activity in both markets. However, while Kerry Foods saw a moderation in volume growth as the year progressed, profitability in the division was maintained due to on-going business efficiency programmes and successful innovation focused on value consumer offerings. Sales revenue increased to Eur1.67 billion reflecting 3.2% like-for-like growth. Overall business volumes grew by 1.1%, reflecting 2.6% volume growth in the UK and a decline of 2.6% in Ireland. Trading profit showed 1% like-for-like growth to Eur130 million. Despite gains through business efficiency programmes, difficulties in cost recovery particularly in private label categories meant that the divisional trading margin was 30 basis points lower at 7.8%.

Kerry Group chief executive Stan McCarthy comments: “Kerry delivered good profitable growth in 2011 despite weak consumer confidence in many markets and significant raw material and input cost inflation. The group performed well across developed and developing markets while continuing to build our capabilities and positioning for the future.”

He adds: “We are confident of achieving our strategic growth objectives for 2012 and expect to achieve seven to ten per cent growth in adjusted earnings per share to a range of 228 to 235 cent per share (2011 – 213.4 cent).”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Kerry Group’s Trading Profits Reach €500 Million Milestone

Russia Weakens Carlsberg’s 2011 Performance


Carlsberg Group’s 2011 financial performance has been adversely impacted by a decline in the Russian beer market. Group operating profit at DKr9.82 billion (Eur1.32 billion) declined organically by 4%, as solid growth in Asia and Northern & Western Europe was not enough to offset the Eastern European decline, and group operating margin declined to 15.4% from 17.1% in 2010.

Group beer volumes grew organically by 3% and including acquisitions by 4% to118.7 million hl, with all three regions reporting organic volume growth for the year. Net revenue grew by 6% to DKr63.56 billion with a solid 6% organic growth (total volume 2% and 4% price/mix).

In Northern & Western Europe, Carlsberg’s performance was driven by efficiency improvements and market share gains, while in Asia it was driven by growth and market share gains. However, its performance in Eastern Europe was impacted by the Russian beer market decline and Russian market share loss, which was caused by a high level of promotions and price activity by competitors. The overall Northern & Western Europe beer market was flat in 2011. The Russian market declined by an estimated 3%.

Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, chief executive of Carlsberg.

Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, chief executive of Carlsberg, comments: “While 2011 was a challenging year with headwinds from rising input costs and a challenging Russian market, our Northern & Western European and Asian regions continued to perform well, both commercially and financially. Throughout the year, we maintained our focus on profitable development by balancing volume and value share, which led to share growth in both volume and value in Northern & Western Europe and Asia, but in the case ofRussiaresulted in market share loss due to a high level of promotional activities from competitors.”

An important commercial project in 2011 was the repositioning of the Carlsberg brand across more than 150 markets. The Carlsberg brand grew in volume by an encouraging 7% in premium markets.

He continues: “In our planning for 2012, we’re investing to grow market share and continuing the implementation of efficiency improvements. Strong prioritisation on the most important activities will be a key driver for how we approach businesses in what we expect to be a challenging environment in Northern & Western Europe in 2012. In Russia, the steps we’ve taken to strengthen the business will begin to bear fruit in 2012. At the same time we’ll continue to explore acquisition opportunities in growth markets.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Russia Weakens Carlsberg’s 2011 Performance

Sales Drop But Profits Advance at Baxters Food Group


Despite a 2.5% drop in sales to £125.8 million Baxters Food Group increased pre-tax profit by 6.9% to £7.1 million for the year ended May 28th 2011. The drop in turnover is attributable to the UK market where the practice of low margin promotional activity shows no sign of easing, according to Audrey Baxter, chairman of Baxters Food Group. However, the company reported double-digit growth in overseas sales.

“These figures reflect a solid financial performance in a tough economic environment,” comments Audrey Baxter. “We have operated in economic uncertainty for the last two years and we believe this will continue well into the next two years and beyond.”

She adds: “The volatility in demand, cost of operating and uncertainty of supply, make the planning and implementation of good practice in a manufacturing company very challenging. Our strategy is to focus on our core strengths targeting markets well suited to our product portfolio.”

The Scottish food group continues to invest in developing innovative new products. During the year under review it launched the Stay Full range of slow-energy release soups, a full range of luxury chutneys and entered a new category in meat ambient ready meals.

In November 2011, Baxters acquired Fray Bentos for an undisclosed sum from Princes Group. Princes was ordered by the UK Office of Fair Trading to dispose of Fray Bentos, which produces a range of canned pies and puddings as well as corned beef and meatballs, as a condition of its purchase of Premier Foods’ canned grocery operations for £182 million in July 2011.

“The recently completed acquisition of Fray Bentos demonstrates our ability to acquire one of the UK’s best known heritage brands. We are currently considering a number of other options,” says Audrey Baxter.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Sales Drop But Profits Advance at Baxters Food Group

Nestle Grows in Both Developed and Emerging Markets


Reflecting growth in both emerging markets and developed markets, Nestle increased net profit by 8.1% on a continuing basis to SFr9.5 billion (Eur7.8 billion) for 2011 on sales of SFr83.6 billion exhibiting organic growth of 7.5% and 3.9% real internal growth. Trading operating profit was SFr12.5 billion and the margin advanced 60 basis points (90 basis points in constant currencies) to 15.0%.

Nestle continued to grow in all regions of the world, with 5.0% organic growth in Europe, 6.4% in the Americas and 13.1% in Asia, Oceania and Africa. The business grew 13.3% in emerging markets and 4.3% in developed markets.

Paul Bulcke, chief executive of Nestle, comments: “We delivered good performance, top and bottom line, in both emerging and developed markets in 2011. It was a challenging year, and we do not expect 2012 to be any easier.”

During 2011, Nestle continued to invest in innovation and platforms for growth including new partnerships in China with Yinlu and Hsu Fu Chi, and the formation of Nestle Health Science and the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences, which both had a good start in their first year of operation.

“Our innovation is creating opportunities in all categories, whether bringing new consumers to our brands in emerging markets, or building on our consumers’ engagement with our brands in the developed world,” says Paul Bulcke.

Nestle achieved growth in Western and Central/Eastern Europe with sales up 4% organically to SFr15.2 billion and real internal growth of 1.8%. Trading operating profit margin improved by 230 basis points to 15.6%.

In Western Europe all markets overcame tough economic conditions to deliver real internal growth. Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain collectively achieved 3.7% organic growth.France, the Benelux countries and Great Britain did well. All Nestle’s key categories grew with soluble coffee, chilled culinary, frozen pizza and petcare among the highlights.

In Central and Eastern Europe there were strong performances in Ukraine and Romania and in the Adriatic region. However, trading conditions remained tough in Russia and Poland. Innovation continued to drive Nestle’s European growth with a major contribution from brands like Nescafe Dolce Gusto, Nescafe Sensazione in soluble coffee and Herta in chilled culinary.

According to Paul Bulcke, the company is “well positioned in 2012 to deliver the Nestle Model of organic growth between 5% and 6% as well as an improved margin and underlying earnings per share in constant currencies.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Nestle Grows in Both Developed and Emerging Markets

Heineken Achieves Organic Growth Across All Regions


Driven by a group beer volume increase of 3.6% with growth in all regions, Heineken has reported a 6.1% increase in revenue to Eur17.12 billion for 2011. Revenue grew 3.6% organically, reflecting total consolidated volume growth of 2.1% and revenue per hectolitre growth of 1.5%.

Organic EBIT growth was 1.4% as higher revenues, cost savings and increased profit from joint ventures were partly offset by increased marketing expense, higher input costs. Net profit grew 9.2% organically to Eur1.58 billion, driven by higher EBIT, lower interest expense and a lower effective tax rate. However, reported net profit declined 1.2% to Eur717 million, following an exceptional capital gain in 2010. 

“At the start of 2011, we said that we would significantly increase investment in our brands and innovation to drive long-term value and volume growth. This strategy helped us to deliver organic volume and revenue growth across all five reporting regions for the year,” comments Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, chairman and chief executive of Heineken. “We also grew the bottom-line organically in 2011, with 9.2% net profit (beia) growth.”

Heineken’s Total Cost Management (TCM) programme delivered pre-tax savings of Eur178 million in 2011 and total savings of Eur614 million over the entire three year period. The Dutch brewer has now launched a new Eur500 million cost saving programme (TCM2) covering the 2012-14 period. Heineken also achieved cost synergies of Eur94 million in 2011, relating to the acquired beer operations of FEMSA, bringing cumulative savings to Eur136 million. The remainder of the targeted Eur150 million cost synergies from the FEMSA acquisition will be realised in 2012.

Jean-Francois van Boxmeer continues: “The Heineken brand continued to outperform the international premium segment and overall beer market, with particularly strong brand performances in Brazil, China, France, Nigeria and Vietnam. Heineken was also launched in Mexico and India, two attractive growth markets.”

In the year ahead, Heineken expects to benefit from continued positive growth momentum in higher growth economies and from revenue enhancing initiatives in developed markets. In addition, revenue development will continue to be supported by an ongoing shift towards higher growth economies in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Heineken Achieves Organic Growth Across All Regions

Emerging Markets Drive Danone


Strong growth in emerging markets helped Danone to increase like-for-like sales by 7.8% to Eur19.32 billion and improve its trading operating margin by 20 bps to 14.72% in 2011. The organic sales growth reflects a 3.0% increase in sales volume and a 4.8% increase due to price/mix effect. Trading operating income rose 9.2% on a like-for-like basis to Eur2.84 billion.

However, emerging economies for the first time accounted for over half of Danone’s sales and generated most of the group’s growth in sales and in trading operating income.

“The year 2011 was both tough and positive. Tough because of the increasingly gloomy macro-economic environment in urope, plus a steep rise in commodity prices that put pressure on our costs and entire organisation. But also positive because we came through successfully,” says Franck Riboud, chairman of Danone. “Our results made 2011 a successful year, as we once again met all our targets. Organic growth in sales stood at 7.8%, both full year and in the fourth quarter. We met our target for margin expansion. And our free cash flow continued to increase sharply, gaining over 9%.

Danone succeeded in continuing to grow its sales volumes throughout the year, reflecting ongoing efforts to develop its product categories, but also the competitive management of selling prices, particularly in Europe. Despite a 2% drop in volume in Europe, Danone grew like-for-like sales by 2.4% to Eur10.81 billion.

Danone’s biggest division, fresh dairy increased like-for-like sales by 4.6% to Eur11.24 billion on volume down 0.1%. The waters division registered the strongest sales growth – up 15.7% to Eur3.23 billion. Baby nutrition also achieved double-digit sales growth – up 10.7% to Eur3.67 billion. Medical nutrition sales at Eur1.18 billion rose by 9.4%.

Franck Riboud continues: “Looking ahead, we anticipate no improvement in the economic environment or in consumer spending in 2012, and our priorities for the year remain the same: leveraging our growth drivers, investing in our categories and brands, and managing inflation and volatile costs while maintaining our competitive edge.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Emerging Markets Drive Danone

Annual Profits Plunge at Coca-Cola Hellenic


Coca-Cola Hellenic has reported a 1% growth in net sales revenue to Eur8.85 billion for 2011 but volumes fell by 1%. Despite overall volume and net sales revenue remaining similar to the previous year, the continuing adverse impact of commodity costs and persisting economic challenges across most of the group’s territories, combined with unfavourable country mix and foreign currency impact resulted in a 21% decline in comparable EBIT to Eur541 million and net profit plunged 27% to Eur330 million.

A volume increase of 2% in developing markets was more than offset by a 3% decline in established markets and a 1% decline in emerging markets. Coca-Cola Hellenic’s sparkling beverages and energy drinks volume increased by 2% and 29% respectively, in 2011. Volume in the water and juice categories declined by 7% and 8%, respectively. Premium sparkling brands grew ahead of total volume, with Coca-Cola growing 5%, Coca-Cola Zero growing 7%, and Fanta and Sprite growing 1%, each.

Coca-Cola Hellenic continued to focus on improving operating efficiencies and productivity in its business through further restructuring initiatives in 2011, incurring pre-tax restructuring costs of Eur72 million which are expected to yield annualised benefits of Eur50 million from 2012 onwards. The restructuring initiatives of 2010 and 2011 resulted in total benefits of Eur44 million in 2011.

”Despite extremely challenging economic conditions in most of our markets, net sales revenue per case grew by 4% on a currency neutral basis in the full year. This result was achieved whilst growing or maintaining our volume share in sparkling beverages in twenty five out of twenty eight markets in 2011,” comments Dimitris Lois, chief executive of Coca-Cola Hellenic.

He continues: “We expect the economic environment and consumer sentiment to remain weak in 2012. We also anticipate another year of significant input cost pressures. In this environment, we will continue to optimise our operations to reduce our ongoing costs. We remain committed to our revenue growth strategy, and we expect to further improve currency neutral net sales revenue per case while we continue building sustainable leadership in the marketplace.”

The soft drinks group has identified additional restructuring opportunities to further improve efficiencies and reduce costs. It expects to incur costs of approximately Eur50 million in restructuring initiatives for 2012, which are expected to yield Eur35 million annualised benefits from 2013 onwards. Initiatives already taken in 2011 and initiatives to be made in 2012 are expected to yield approximately Eur40 million in total benefits in 2012.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Annual Profits Plunge at Coca-Cola Hellenic

Major Restructuring at PepsiCo to Maintain Profitable Growth


With worldwide snacks and beverage volumes rising by 8% and 5% respectively, PepsiCo has increased operating profit by 16% to $9.63 billion on net revenue up 15% to $66.5 million for 2011. Reported net income rose by 2% to $6.46 billion.

The results reflect top-line gains across its worldwide snacks and beverage businesses, the acquisition of Wimm-Bill-Dann in Russia, gains from sales of certain businesses and the favorable impact of an extra reporting week offset by high commodity costs.

“In 2011, we delivered solid top- and bottom-line growth,” says PepsiCo chairman and chief executive Indra Nooyi. “We continued to stimulate strong consumer demand for our products, and our successful pricing and productivity programs partially offset the impacts of inflation. Importantly, in a year characterised by a challenging macroeconomic environment and political turbulence, we took advantage of gains from strategic adjustments to our portfolio to reinvest in key capabilities and markets.”

Full-year worldwide snacks volume increased 2.5% on an organic basis, reflecting broad-based gains in the snacks portfolio. Full-year worldwide beverage volume increased 1% on an organic basis. The volume performance was led by growth in emerging markets, where volume increased 8% in snacks and 3% in beverages on an organic basis.

In Europe, volume increased in double-digits for both snacks and beverages, including the impact of the WBD acquisition. Net revenue increased by 41%, and by 12% excluding the impact of the WBD acquisition. Full-year operating profit advanced by 18%.

PepsiCo chairman and chief executive Indra Nooyi.

To maintain its growth momentum, PepsiCo has unveiled a major restructuring and productivity program with the savings being invested in its brands. Entailing the shedding of about 8,700 jobs or 3% of the global workforce, PepsiCo’s new multi-year productivity program is expected to generate $1.5 billion of incremental cost savings by 2014 through optimisation of operating practices and organisation structure. PepsiCo plans to increase advertising and marketing support behind its global brands by $500-$600 million in 2012, with particular focus on North America. Going forward, it expects to maintain or increase that rate of support as a percentage of revenues.

As a result of the productivity programme, PepsiCo incurred pre-tax non-core restructuring charges of $383 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and it anticipates additional charges of approximately $425 million in 2012 and another $100 million from 2013 through 2015. These charges resulted in cash expenditures of $30 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the company anticipates approximately $550 million of related cash expenditures during 2012, with the balance of approximately $175 million of related cash expenditures in 2013 through 2015.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Major Restructuring at PepsiCo to Maintain Profitable Growth

Diageo Delivers Solid Interim Performance


Helped by strong growth in emerging markets and a recovery in some developed markets, Diageo has reported an 8% growth in operating profit before exceptionals to £1.87 billion on net sales up 8% to £5.76 billion for the six months ended 31st December 2011. Volume growth was 3% and organic net sales growth was 7%, driven by volume and price increases. Diageo achieved 9% organic growth in operating profit. Marketing was up 10% on an organic basis with 20% growth in emerging markets and 8% growth in North America

On the brands front, Johnnie Walker grew net sales by 15%, Smirnoff returned to growth, and global Guinness net sales grew 5% despite a 2% decline in Western Europe. The strongest performing categories were Scotch, up 14%, and vodka, up 13%, while Diageo’s beer brands delivered 7% organic net sales growth.

Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo.

“Diageo has delivered a solid and well balanced first half performance with 9% operating profit growth and 60 basis points of operating margin expansion,” comments Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo. “This is the result of the investments we have made to build our brands, deepen our routes to market in the faster growing markets of the world, enhance our leadership in US spirits and create an integrated organisation in Western Europe. In an uncertain economic environment we have again demonstrated the benefits of our geographic diversity and brand range.”

Diageo increased net sales by 18% and operating profit by 23% in emerging markets, which now account for almost 40% of the drinks group’s business. Its performance also improved in developed markets where Diageo delivered top line growth and operating margin expansion while marketing as a percent of net sales increased.

The performance of Diageo’s business in Western Europereflected the variation in the economies by country. The stronger economies of Germany and France delivered double digit net sales growth. In the weaker economies of Spain, Greece and Ireland, net sales declined. In Great Britain net sales also declined in line with a strategy to reduce the depth of promotions, that delivered 4 percentage points of positive price/mix. Overall volume performance was flattered by the sales buy-in in France ahead of an excise increase in January 2012 and the lapping of a destock in Spain in 2010.

With each market growing double digit net sales, strong performance in Russia and Eastern Europe was driven by Scotch, with Johnnie Walker net sales up 22%, and White Horse, the number one whisky in Russia, up 15% on the back of the first ever image campaign for the brand.

Looking ahead, Paul Walsh adds: “We are cautious as to the consumer and economic trends we will face in 2012 but these first half results have positioned us well and they have demonstrated that Diageo has the brands, the routes to market and the people to deliver our medium term guidance. The increase of 7% in the interim dividend signals our confidence that we are making a strong business stronger.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Diageo Delivers Solid Interim Performance

Solid Growth at European-focused Coca Cola Enterprises


Coca-Cola Enterprises, the world’s third largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, has increased revenue by 11.5% to $8.3 billion with volume sales up 3.5% for 2011. Reported full-year operating income was $1.0 billion.

Since disposing of its North American operations, Coca-Cola Enterprises is now focused purely on Europe, where it is the sole licensed bottler for products of The Coca-Cola Company in Great Britain, Belgium, continental France, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

Revenue was up 5.5% on a currency neutral basis, when compared to 2010 pro forma results. Operating income increased by 17% over prior year pro forma results, and by 9% on a comparable and currency neutral basis.

The volume increase reflects 3.5% growth in the group’s sparkling brands and approximately 3% growth in still beverages. Key highlights in 2011 included volume growth of 3.5% for core Coca-Cola trademark brands, and more than 40% for energy brands, driven by Monster and the introduction of Powerade Energy in Great Britain. Coca-Cola Enterprises also recorded solid growth from Capri Sun and Ocean Spray in stills. On a territory basis, volume increased in both Great Britain and continental Europe by 2.5% and 4.5% respectively.

“2011 marks the sixth consecutive year of volume and profit growth in our legacy territories,” says John Brock, chairman and chief executive of Coca-Cola Enterprises. “While we continue to face ongoing marketplace and macroeconomic challenges, the results from our first full year of operating exclusively as a European bottler reinforce the confidence we have in the long-term potential of today’s Coca-Cola Enterprises.”

He continues: “Throughout the year, we made consistent progress against key initiatives, including the integration of Norway and Sweden and the completion of our $1 billion share repurchase program.”

In line with its long-term objective of creating increasing levels of shareowner value, Coca-Cola Enterprises initiated a new $1 billion share repurchase program in January 2012, with a goal of repurchasing at least $500 million of its shares by the year end.

For 2012, Coca-Cola Enterprises expects revenue to grow in a high single-digit range, with operating income growth in mid single-digits. “In 2012, we expect to deliver another year of growth as we continue to enhance our brand portfolio, improve the service we provide to our customers, and maximize the value of excellent marketplace opportunities, including the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which we are working to make the greenest ever,” says John Brock.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Solid Growth at European-focused Coca Cola Enterprises

Solid 2011 Performance By The Coca-Cola Company


The Coca-Cola Company has reported a 33% rise in net revenues to $46.54 billion and comparable currency neutral net revenues growth of 29% for 2011, reflecting the acquisition of Coca-Cola Enterprises’ former North America operations in the fourth quarter of 2010. Full year reported operating income grew 20% to $10.15 billion and comparable currency neutral operating income grew 12%.

The world’s largest soft drinks company achieved strong worldwide volume growth of 5% for the full year. Volume growth was well-balanced across the globe, with solid growth in key developed markets like North America, Japan and Germany and double-digit growth in key emerging markets such as India and China.

The company’s four-year productivity programme has been successfully completed, with annualised savings of over $500 million, exceeding the original target range of $400 to $500 million. The Coca-Cola Company is now launching a new ‘Productivity and Reinvestment’ programme with targeted annualised savings of $550 to $650 million by the end of 2015 as a natural extension of the company’s 2020 Vision development strategy.

Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive of The Coca-Cola Company.

Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive of  The Coca-Cola Company, comments: “The Coca-Cola Company continues its momentum toward realising our 2020 Vision, with stronger brands, clear strategies and well-focused execution to drive further growth. We once again achieved financial results for both the year and the quarter in line with, or ahead of, our long-term targets, with quarterly volume and revenue growth in every one of our five geographic operating groups. Importantly, we also continued to increase our global volume and value share in 2011.”

He continues: “Even as we believe that global market volatility will continue in the near term, the breadth of our global footprint and the strength of our brands create a resilient business that was built for times like these. As we enter into the third year of our 2020 Vision, our Roadmap for Winning Together remains clear. The assumptions that shaped our 2020 Vision have not changed. Our expectations for long-term, sustainable and balanced growth across emerging and developed markets have not wavered. And we will continue to make significant investments in our future all around the world to support the tremendous opportunity we see in nonalcoholic ready-to-drink beverages, one of the fastest growing segments in consumer packaged goods.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Solid 2011 Performance By The Coca-Cola Company

Record Sales For Beam


US-based global spirits group Beam (formerly known as Fortune Brands) has reported a 4% rise in operating income to $572.2 million on net sales up 8% to a record $2.3 billion for 2011. On a comparable basis when adjusted for foreign exchange, acquisitions, divestitures, and the ongoing impact of the new Australia spirits distribution agreement – net sales advanced by 8%.

By geographic region, comparable net sales were up 8% in North America, up 8% in Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA), and up 8% in Asia Pacific/South America (APSA).

“2011 was an extraordinary year for Beam,” says Matt Shattock, president and chief executive of Beam. “We launched Beam as a leading standalone spirits company, while we continued to outperform our markets and prime our business for sustainable, profitable long-term growth.”

During the year, the group also completed synergy-driven acquisitions in two dynamic growth categories – ready-to-serve cocktails and Irish whiskey – with the purchase of Skinnygirl and Cooley Distillery. The group’s brands portfolio now includes Jim Beam bourbon, Maker’s Mark bourbon, Sauza tequila, Canadian Club whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Teacher’s Scotch whisky, Kilbeggan Irish whiskey, Laphroaig Scotch whisky, Larios gin, DeKuyper cordials, and Skinnygirl cocktails.

“As we enter 2012, we’re encouraged by our continued marketplace momentum,” comments Matt Shattock. “We expect our global spirits market to continue to grow value in the range of 3%, supported by solid growth in mature markets such as the US and double-digit growth in key emerging markets. Against this backdrop, we see market growth across key spirits categories, including strong worldwide demand for bourbon.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Record Sales For Beam

Food Volumes Down at Unilever


Unilever has reported a 1% increase in both operating profit and net profit to Eur6.43 billion and Eur4.62 billion respectively on turnover up 5% to Eur46.5 billion for 2011. Underlying sales growth was ahead by 6.5% with price up 4.8% and volume growth 1.6%. The rise in sales was driven by strong growth in emerging markets and the Home Care and Personal Care categories.

However, underlying volumes from the foods division declined by 3.9% in the fourth quarter and by 1.2% for the full year. Price increases were responsible for the 4.9% rise in turnover from the food business to Eur13.99 billion. The refreshment business, incorporating ice cream and beverages, achieved underlying sales growth of 4.9% to Eur8.80 billion with price rises contributing 3.4% and volume growth of 1.4% for the year.

Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever.

“In Foods, whilst price increases have impacted volumes, we have grown in line with our markets and gained share in many of our key businesses,” says Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever.

The group’s underlying operating margin fell by 10bps with a reduction in overheads offsetting much of the pressure on gross margins from higher commodity costs.

“In 2011 we have made significant progress in the transformation of Unilever to a sustainable growth company despite difficult markets and an unusual number of significant external challenges.” John Polman continues: “We expect the external macro-economic environment to remain difficult in 2012 and input cost headwinds will persist, although to a lesser extent than in 2011. Within this challenging context our over-riding priority is to manage our brands for the long term health of the business whilst delivering: profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cash flow.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Food Volumes Down at Unilever

Finsbury Food Group Passes £100 Million Interim Sales Barrier


Finsbury Food Group, a leading UK manufacturer of cake, bread and gluten free bakery goods, has increased first half sales revenues to £102 million, passing the £100 million in six months milestone for the first time. This represents organic growth of just over £14 million and an increase of 16% compared with the prior year.

The group experienced growth across each of its businesses. Both the group’s UK Cake and Bread and Free From businesses saw strong growth of 10% and 8% respectively. The combination of these businesses accounted for just over half the total group growth. Lightbody Europe, the group’s 50% owned joint venture export business, provided the balance with growth of 167%.

John Duffy, chief executive of Finsbury Food Group.

The trading environment remains very tough, with the challenges of a financially squeezed shopper, and stubbornly high commodity and input price inflation. However, Finsbury is continuing to invest in each of its businesses to further improve operating efficiencies, and drive growth through innovation to mitigate against these headwinds.

The high first half growth, delivered through both volume and price rises, complemented the group’s efficiency initiatives to largely offset year on year commodity inflation, although the operating margin percentage was slightly lower than prior year as a consequence.

Chief executive John Duffy comments: “Commodity inflation remains very high year on year and this continues to depress our already low operating margins. It is hard to forecast any improvement in this in the short term, however management and staff are committed to deliver on our twin strategy of growth and continued efficiency investment to ensure our continued success in this difficult market place.”

Posted in NewsComments Off on Finsbury Food Group Passes £100 Million Interim Sales Barrier



Food & Drink Business Conference & Exhibition 2015

Food & Drink Event Videos

Upcoming Events

  • March 26, 2017Food & Beverage Environmental Conference
  • April 1, 2017SnackXpo
  • April 2, 2017The Natural Food Show
  • April 4, 2017ProFood Tech
AEC v1.0.4

Jobs: Food Packaging

Jobs: New Product Development

Jobs: Finance

Jobs: Project Management

Jobs: Logistics

The Magazine

F&D Business Preferred Suppliers

Advertisements