Strong showing in American arm helps Arzyta post €247m pre-tax profits

A STRONG showing from its north American operations has helped Irish-Swiss bakery group Aryzta post a strong set of full-year results, despite under-performance in its core European division.

Overall pre-tax profits, for the 12 months to the end of July, came in at €247.3 million, compared to just over €218m the previous year. Overall group revenue was up by 2.5% at €3.21 billion; although underlying revenue was down by 3%. The group – formed by the 2008 merger of IAWS and Swiss group, Hiestand – has also proposed a dividend per share of 35.2c for shareholders.

Yesterday’s figures came on the same day that Irish agri-food group, Origin Enterprises – in which Aryzta holds a 71.4% stake – posted an 8.5% rise in full-year profits and declared an inaugural dividend for shareholders.

While Aryzta’s European operations saw a like-for-like decline in revenues of 2.2% (excluding acquisition contributions and foreign exchange effects), there was a 12.5% increase in revenue in its north American arm, to €555.1m.

“Through the year, the recession broadened and deepened and this is reflected in our underlying revenues – which swung from double-digit growth to a decline – within the 12 month period,” said chief executive, Owen Killian.

“These results are an endorsement of the shareholders’ support to create Aryzta last year. We’ll continue to prioritise cash, while maintaining a well-invested platform to benefit from a future recovery in economic growth,” he added.

Meanwhile, Davy Stockbrokers said yesterday it has upped its 2010 adjusted earnings per share forecasts for Aryzta from 221c to 221.6c.

“For the first time, the revenue line in its food division faces challenges. We expect management to aggressively counter this through efficiencies. Powerful cash generation will provide scope for further investment,” Davy said.

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