· Profit of 23.4 million euro, against 18.3 million euro posted in the first three months of 2002.
Madrid, 24 de abril de 2003. The core businesses of Ebro Puleva (rice, sugar and dairy) chalked up a net profit of 23.4 million euro in the first quarter of 2003, representing a year-on-year growth of more than 28% (18.3 million euro in the first quarter of 2002). The turnover of these three businesses edged down 2.5% to 389.6 million euro. Despite this slide in sales, the profit growth indicates that the profitability ratios of these three lines of business overall have improved considerably.
These figures are consistent with the Group¿s corporate strategy, based essentially on concentrating efforts and resources on optimisation of the principal lines of business (rice, sugar, dairy and biotechnology) and maintaining a sustained, profitable growth.
Consolidated figures: debt cut by 30%
The Chile effect and the sale of Proterra are key factors for interpreting the Group¿s consolidated sales and profit figures. As mentioned on earlier occasions, Ebro Puleva is obliged by law to fully consolidate Iansa in its profit and loss account, even though it holds a stake of less than 24%. Moreover, the sale of Proterra in Chile, a company engaged in the sale of agricultural material and, therefore, not strategic for the Group, has cut out a large chunk of sales, over 17 million euro, from the consolidated accounts.
As a result, the consolidated turnover of Ebro Puleva was 476.4 million euro in the first quarter of 2003, down 7.3%. The consolidated net profit of Ebro Puleva totalled 24.3 million euro, similar to that recorded in the same period last year. In this context, Ebro Puleva has considerably reduced its consolidated debt during the period, by 35%.