Ebro posted a Q1 net profit of €43.3 million, 43% more than in the same period of 2015, pushed up by the positive performance of its core businesses and the extraordinary income generated on the sale of the Puerto Rico rice business.
Net turnover was up 2.7% year on year to €613 million.
The EBITDA or gross operating profit totalled €82.8 million, a year-on-year growth of 18.8%, while the EBIT rose to €65.2 million, up 21.7% on Q1 2015.
Net debt was reduced by 7.3% year on year to €413.8 million, €13 million less than at year-end. This figure includes the income of US$11.7 million from the divestment in Puerto Rico and the payment of €24 million for the acquisition of the French ecological food company Celnat.
Earnings by core businesses
In a scenario of stable commodity prices, except for Japonica rice and special varieties for risotto and paella in Europe, the development of this division is satisfactory, underpinned by the good performance of the businesses, with growth in the categories with the highest value added, Sabroz, specialty, aromatic, ready to serve and instant rice varieties.
The RiceSelect business (incorporated in the division in June 2015) had a particularly outstanding performance during the quarter, with double-digit growth.
The division posted a turnover of €327.7 million and EBITDA of €50.2 million.
On the commodity side, the evolution of the crops in Europe and sowing in North America favoured a return to stable prices, which were lower during the quarter than in the same period of last year.
Business went very well in France and the results achieved by new launchings, in both dry and fresh pasta, were highly satisfactory.
Garofalo is still performing well in all the countries in which the Group started to distribute the brand, especially in Spain.
And there appears to be an upturn in sales in North America, which we hope to consolidate with all the efforts made to renovate the product portfolio of that business.
The division posted a turnover of €299.5 million and EBITDA of €35.1 million.
A good start to the year
The Group has had a very satisfactory start to the year:
1. Its core businesses have made very positive progress thanks to constant investment in differentiation, their understanding of the market, the continuous rotation of products to meet consumers’ and customers’ needs and the stability on the commodity markets.
2. The Group has branched into a new area of activity -ecological food- by buying the French company Celnat, an important player in that segment that will share all its expertise with the other companies in the Group.
3. The two acquisitions made in 2015, RiceSelect and Roland Monterrat, have proved their worth and, following a very fast integration, they contributed €13.7 million and US$7.7 million, respectively, to the Group turnover during the quarter.
4. The Group has gone a little further towards concentrating its resources by selling its rice business in Puerto Rico, a market that was no longer strategic for the Group.