First-half revenues at Irish-Swiss bakery group Aryzta grew by nearly 1% — with its North American interests driving growth and offsetting a disappointing showing from its European operations.
The Zurich and Dublin- based group — which grew out of the 2008 merger between IAWS and Swiss group, Hiestand — said yesterday that revenue for the six months to the end of January, was up by 0.9% from €1.89bn to €1.91bn. Pre-tax profits were up only marginally, from €143.2m to €146.5m.
Aryzta group chief executive Owen Killian said that the underlying performance was “robust, despite challenging trading conditions”.
“2012 remains a critical year of transformation for Aryzta, for significant ATI-driven change [the group’s Aryzta Transformation Initiative] under way 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,” he added.
Earnings per share, in the first half, were up by 3.8% to 145.6c; and management has reiterated its full-year guidance of 338c for the current 12 months and over 400c for the next financial year.
Management said while its European food business is meeting expectations, the division is one of the most challenging parts of the business; due to austerity measures being taken across the eurozone and continuing low consumer confidence levels.
While first-half revenue was up by 7.5%, year-on- year, in that division, 6.5% of growth was on the back of acquisition contribution, while sales were down by 0.3% on an underlying basis.
Overall, Aryzta’s food group saw a 9.4%, year-on- year, growth in revenue to €1.4bn. Growth was driven by the North American food division, where economic conditions and consumer sentiment have been improving. That division enjoyed a year-on-year sales rise of 9.6%, with underlying growth amounting to 7.5% and acquisition-led growth 4%.
The ‘rest of the world’ food division saw a 21% revenue increase, while Origin Enterprises — in which Aryzta holds a 71.4% stake — has already reported a 17% drop in first-half revenue.
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