Net turnover rose 1% year on year to €426 million.
The EBITDA or gross operating profit is €63 million, slightly down on 2010 (4.5%) owing to the time lag between the rise in raw material prices and the effect of passing it on in our selling prices and the company’s strong commitment to our brands, for which it has invested some €24 million in advertising.
Ebro’s consolidated earnings reflect all the efforts made by the Group to cope adequately with the inflation of raw materials. Through the progressive adjustment of our prices to the prices of these commodities and the new products that are to be launched in the coming months, greater margins are expected on the company’s income statement in the second half of the year.
Against a backdrop of rising costs of raw materials, the development of the rice business has been satisfactory, bolstered by the excellent performance of the North American subsidiary, which contributed €84 million to the total turnover of the division.
Market shares have held firm in the United States at around 22% and have grown in Europe, except in Spain where the first quarter was somewhat weaker.
The division posted a turnover of €200 million and EBITDA of €27.5 million in the period.
This division has been hit hard by the durum wheat price hike. Although the first effects were felt in the third quarter of 2010, prices peaked in February of this year at around €340/tonne. The delay in passing these prices on to consumers has had a mild effect on the first quarter EBITDA, which stands at €39 million, although this downturn is expected to be corrected during the year, following the full implementation of the price rise in March, a further price rise already announced to distribution and the success of the latest launchings in both vegetable and quick-cooking pastas. Sales totalled €236 million.