· The 1H consolidated earnings, with growth of more than 20%, demonstrate the extraordinary strength of the business model forged by the Ebro Puleva Group.
· Net profit grew 25% to 98 million euro.
· EBITDA rose 21.5% year on year to 144 million euro.
· The Group posted a net turnover of 1,120 million euro.
· It reduced its debt by 53.4% to 582 million euro.
· With the launching of new products, the group has increased its investment in advertising by 10% to 49 million euro.
Madrid, 30 July 2009. The Ebro Puleva Group chalked up a net profit of 98.2 million euro in the first half of 2009, up 25% year on year.
The operating figures also revealed strong growth. The EBITDA or gross operating profit grew by 21.5% to 144 million euro, while the EBIT or net operating profit was up 31% on June 2008 at 110 million euro.
Net turnover totalled 1,120 million euro, sliding 1.8% year on year.
The generation of operating income, management of working capital and receipt of the proceeds from the sale of the sugar business made a decisive contribution towards reducing the company¿s final debt, which has been brought down to 582 million euro, 53.4% lower than in the same period of 2008.
In accordance with the strategy of building value around the group¿s brands, the Group stepped up its investment in advertising to 49 million euro (+10%).
The force of the Meal Solutions business model
The strong growth recorded by the company in the first half of 2009, at rates of over 20%, reflects the solvency of the business model that the Ebro Puleva Group has forged in recent years. Underpinned by a health balance sheet, a broad portfolio of non-cyclical, high value-added products, significant international diversification and a careful management of resources, the company has, in these times of severe crisis, revealed a very healthy financial position, a major increase in yield and a sturdy resistance to the boom of private label brands.
The performance of the Group¿s principal brands has been excellent, with a powerful share of the different markets in which they operate. The rice and pasta businesses in USA and Canada are particularly strong.
The evolution of results in this division has been satisfactory, based on the excellent performance of the Riviana and Minute Rice businesses, which have grown 20% in both sales revenue and EBITDA. The boom of private label brands in basic categories, especially in southern Europe, has slightly affected the division, with a reduction in volumes of low-contribution products. However, high value added products achieved a remarkable growth, taking earnings to record levels. The division turnover was 443 million euro and its EBITDA rose to 58 million euro.
The stabilisation of raw material prices, the vast increase in pasta consumption and the synergies obtained in our American businesses, through Ebro North America, all contributed towards a significant yield enhancement, up 54% year on year even after investing 7% more in advertising, generating a division EBITDA of 61.7 million euro. The net turnover of this division was 464 million euro.
The constant launching of new references and the continuous segmentation of markets by Puleva is being rewarded by consumers, who have stood by our high value added products; the division has thus steered clear of the current trend on a market dominated by the low prices of the private label brands. With this and the excellent performance of the infant nutrition range, the division has completed a remarkable first half of the year with an EBITDA if 31 million euro, up 34.7% year on year, and a turnover of 222 million euro.