Ebro posted a net profit of €128 million for the first nine months of 2017, up 0.5% year on year.
Its EBITDA, or gross operating income, totalled €261 million, 4.3% more than in the equivalent period of 2016, while the EBIT rose 4.6% to €202.7 million.
Net turnover grew by 0.6% to €1,831.2 million in the first three quarters of the year.
Net debt held steady at €454.7 million. At year-end, following major investments in organic growth and the acquisitions of Vegetalia and Geovita, the group had a net debt of €484.2 million, 1.3x EBITDA. With this low level of debt, we are in a comfortable position to contemplate potential inorganic development in the future.
In a stable commodity scenario, except for basmati rice and, to a lesser extent, rice in the USA, the division has made satisfactory progress thanks to the good performance of:
• microwave products in both Europe and North America, led by the Minute® and Brillante® brands, which have achieved double-digit growth;
• aromatic varieties and Sundari® specialties in Spain, the pulse-grain mixes sold under the Brillante Benefit® brand and the new range of healthy grains of SOS Vidasania®.
The division recorded a turnover of €975 million and EBITDA of €153.7 million.
Raw material prices rose in North America and remained high throughout the past quarter, pushing up our costs. In Europe, the price rise was much gentler. However, pasta consumption in Europe was lower than usual in the summer owing to the heat wave.
Against this backdrop, Panzani achieved satisfactory results and Garofalo maintained its double-digit growth, consolidating its position in the premium segment and taking its first steps in fresh pasta in Italy and France.
In North American, we continued our work to relaunch the quality features of our brands and back the health categories, especially gluten free and organic products.
The division recorded a turnover of €896 million and EBITDA of €114.3 million.
Ebro expects to chalk up a net turnover of €2,514 million by year-end 2017, 2.2% more than in 2016. Its EBITDA is expected to grow 5.3% year on year to €362.4 million, while its net profit should be in line with 2016 at €170 million, owing to the smaller extraordinary income this year.
A very complete 2017
The consolidated earnings for this nine-month period and the year-end outlook are proof of the good health of the Groups business lines, especially the rice division, and our successful venture into convenience, organic and healthy food, with new products put on the market by our main brands -Brillante®, SOS®, Garofalo®, Panzani®, Minute®, Lassie®, Catelli® and Ronzoni®- along with contributions by Celnat, Vegetalia and Geovita.