Ebro closes 2010 with double-digit growth

Ebro posted a net profit of €389 million in 2010, 120% more than in 2009.
Year-on-year growth in operating profit was also impressive, 11% in EBITDA or gross operating profit to €271.5 million and 11.7% in EBIT or net operating profit to €213 million.
Net turnover slipped 3.6% to €1,702 million, as a result of the repercussion on end prices of the lowering of raw material prices during the first half of the year.
In accordance with our strategy of building value around our brands, investment in advertising was increased by 6% to €80.4 million.
After receiving €630 million for the sale of the dairy division, the company’s net debt was cut to €17.6 million, which included payment of the extraordinary dividends in April and July 2011 (€46 million), payment of €47.3 million for our participation in the capital increase made by SOS and the advance tax of €103 million paid on the capital gain produced on the sale of Puleva.
Core businesses


The satisfactory evolution of this division during the year was based on the excellent performance of its brands, which have outstripped market growth rates, posting a 3.1% overall growth of the rice category in North America and 1.8% in Europe.
Although the prices of raw materials grew more unstable with the new 10/11 harvest and have tended to rise, the large reserve of rice stocks worldwide is acting as a safety valve to counteract price peaks both in the USA and more recently in Europe.
Sales totalled €811.3 million, while the division EBITDA rose 4% to €123.3 million.
With extraordinary growth in sales and market shares in both France and North America and the success of the latest novelties launched, the division EBITDA has been pushed up 17% to €160.4 million.
After low, stable durum wheat prices throughout the first six months, they shot up in the second half of the year. In the circumstances, we were forced to pass on the higher costs by putting up the prices of our products, which we did almost entirely in the last quarter.
Sales totalled €915.8 million and the EBITDA/Sales margin rose to 17.5%. 
A successful year in earnings and intense in corporate operations
The consolidated results for 2010 confirm the successful strategy followed by the company, which posted double-digit growth for the third year in succession, bolstered by the strength of its brands, constant implementing of cost-saving measures, growing investment in advertising and innovation, the successful launching of new products and synergies between the Group businesses.
Moreover, although private label brands are gaining ground, especially in southern Europe, the company has strengthened its market positions in both rice and pasta, in some cases reaching record market shares.
2010 was also an intense year for Ebro in corporate operations: divestment in the dairy business, the announced purchase of the SOS rice business and the bid to purchase SunRice. As a result of all these operations, Ebro is now stronger, more brand-based, more international and more focused on its core businesses.