The period in question – basically the first nine months of trading since last summer’s merger between the Dublin-headquartered IAWS Group and the Zurich-based bakery business, Hiestand – showed a slowing in revenue across all geographical markets, but was boosted by a 22.7% rise in its North American operations. Acquisitions contributed to more than 11% of group revenue for the nine months.
However, the group’s core European food market saw a 1.4% like-for-like drop in revenues for the period, to €848.9m. On a positive note for its European operations, Aryzta’s new bakery, distribution and R&D facilities at Grangecastle in Dublin have now commenced operations, “substantially” enhancing the group’s baking capability and capacity.
Aryzta chief executive Owen Killian said that group trading was currently a question of weathering the challenging market conditions, but that the business was coping adequately.
“Consumer sentiment continued to deteriorate, resulting in lower consumer spending in most channels. This – combined with the continuing credit crunch – poses challenges for most of our customers.
“Revenue growth has slowed in all markets and was negative in our food business in Europe. We’re supporting our customers with value propositions combined with high service levels and excellent quality,” Mr Killian said.
He added: “Bakery products offer excellent value for consumers and we are very well positioned with product, channel and geographic diversity combined with a very responsive business model.”
The group’s share price in Dublin – which took a big hit last month when a 5% stake was sold – benefited from the generally upbeat trading statement; up by 1.21% (25c) yesterday.