· Net turnover was up 22.3% year on year to over 1,253 million euro
· Investment in advertising increased by 79%, continuing the strategy of boosting products with a high value added
· The Ebitda grew by 12.3% to 136 million euro
· The Ebit rose 5% to 94 million euro
Madrid, 20 July 2006. The Ebro Puleva Group posted a net profit of 68 million euro in the first half of 2006, a year-on-year growth of 42%. The net turnover rose 22% over the same period to 1,254 million euro.
Strong growth was also achieved in the Ebitda, or gross operating profit, up 12.3% to 94 million euro. In its zeal to boost its brands, the group stepped up its investments in advertising to 34 million euro, a 79% growth.
The acquisition of New World Pasta marks the beginning of the new strategic plan
The Group set the ball rolling in its 2006-2009 strategy with the acquisition of New World Pasta last June. The consolidated results of these six months reflect the first benefits of this new incorporation, which has contributed 21 million euro to the pasta division turnover and 2.9 million euro to its Ebitda in just one month. The consolidation of the group¿s dedication to this sector, the firm objective of making the Ebro Puleva Group a worldwide benchmark, the strength of the group¿s traditional businesses in the face of adversities on the European consumer market and the excellent prospects of synergies among the North American business are the pillars on which the Group¿s growth is to be built over the next three years..
Results by business areas
The turnover of the sugar division rose 7.7% year on year to 346.5 million euro, although its Ebitda fell 3.4% due to the increased competition, fallng prices and deliveries of sugar to Intervention. The profit before tax was affected by the reforms being made at the company¿s factories to adapt to the new CMO Sugar.
The results of the rice division have been affected by high price volatility in the raw material, restructuring expenses, shutdown of the Abbeville (Louisiana) plant and the increased expenses incurred in the promotion and penetration of new products. These investments are bearing fruit, and Riviana increased its turnover by 5% year on year.
The dairy division perseveres in its positive evolution. Thanks to the success of new products for teenagers and follow-up milks, Ebitda has closed the period with a 6.3% year-on-year growth.
In a generally improved panorama in France, the pasta division has produced outstanding results and satisfactory development over last year, with a turnover of ¿239 million and Ebitda of 35.5 million euro.
The biofuels business developed by the subsidiary Dosbio is starting to raise its head. Four points can be highlighted in this period:
1. The bioethanol plant in Babilafuente has concluded its test phase and begun normal production; full capacity is expected to be reached this month.
2. 100,000 t of domestic raw material has been purchased, the equivalent of almost 40,000 Ha of this cereal. More than 50% of the cereal for the next campaign, over 300,000 t equivalent to approximately 110,000 Ha, is expected to be purchased on the domestic market.
3. We have presented the project for a biodiesel plant in Jédula to the local authorities in Arcos de la Frontera (Cadiz). Work on the factory will begin as soon as all the licences have been obtained, which may take around five months. The basic project is in the making for a beet-based bioethanol plant in Miranda de Ebro (Burgos).
4. We are currently working on the introduction of a fleet of vehicles using the new flexifuel technology, with a variable bioethanol content, and on reaching agreements for the installation of fuel pumps to dispense this fuel and make the use of these vehicles plausible.