Strong sales in Q3 for Aryzta

THE international speciality baking group Aryzta has been sustained by strong sales in the first nine months of the year that were backed by earlier acquisitions.

Underlying demand was modest, with sales up 1.9%, as the improvement in consumer sentiment starts to pick up after the global financial crisis.

The Zurich-headquartered group, formed through a merger of IAWS, which owns Cuisine de France, and Swiss group Hiestand, makers of a range of frozen bakery lines, said yesterday it expects to meet market expectations for the year.

In its latest trading update for the third quarter, ended April 30, 2011, the group said sales totalled €2.9 billion.

Of that, €981.3 million was revenue from its agri-services subsidiary Origin, in which it holds over 71% of the equity.

Acquisitions made a year ago doubled bakery output, leading to a 55% increase in food revenue of €1.9bn.

“We are encouraged by the underlying revenue trends which show modest growth (1.9%), reflecting a fragile recovery in consumer activity in most markets,” said chief executive Owen Killian.

The group is continuing to work closely with its customers to ease the burden of rising prices for the consumer, he said.

“Earnings guidance at the half year results announcement still appears reasonable,” Mr Killian said.

Food sales in Europe grew 13.5% in the third quarter to €296.1m, with acquisitions contributing 8.2%.

Mainland European markets were the key growth drivers, while British and Irish markets still recorded modest decline.

Food North America revenues rose 129% in Q3 to €310.6m, with acquisitions contributing 123%.

The positive trend in underlying revenue growth has been most evident in the retail and quick service restaurant segments of the Food North America market. There is evidence that the wider food service market in North America is showing signs of recovery, it said.

Rest of the world sales grew 480% in the quarter to €45.1m, with acquisitions contributing 466% of that increase.

European food sales rose 11%, US sales were up 136% and the rest of the world rose 548%.

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