Madrid, 28 April 2021. Ebro posted a net turnover of €697.2 million, boosted by the good performance of our brands and increased household consumption, still affected by local lockdowns, capacity restrictions and limited opening times in hospitality, travel restrictions, etc. The comparison with last year is distorted by the extraordinary peaks in demand recorded by the Group following the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. In the CAGR 21/19, turnover grew by 6.5%.
EBITDA-A was down 2% to €94.1 million, while the EBITDA-A margin grew by 90 bp to 13.5%. Net Profit was up 10.6% to €52.8 million.
Net debt totalled €895 million, €56 million less than at year-end 2020. This figure includes €22 million in CAPEX investments, €99 million more in working capital than at year-end 2020, thanks to the commodity hedges during the quarter and the proceeds of €107 million on the sale of the Canadian dry pasta business.
This division faces five major focuses of inflation in the following areas:
1) raw materials
2) freight for aromatic rice varieties
3) local transport
4) packaging material and pallets
5) energy and fuels
Costs rose by around €22 million in Europe and approx. US$15 million in North America.
Our brands are performing well in both businesses, particularly with an upswing in the cups market in Europe and the growth registered in the same category (50% year on year) in the North American market.
The division recorded sales of €438.3 million and EBITDA-A of €60.3 million.
After completing our divestment from the North American dry pasta business during the quarter, the division comprises the fresh and dry pasta businesses of Panzani, Garofalo in the premium segment and Bertagni and Olivieri in fresh pasta.
This division has also had to cope with a raw material price hike, mainly affecting the European business, which we estimate to have been hit by around €10 million.
Just as in rice, the sales of this division maintained satisfactory growth throughout the quarter. The year-on-year comparison in March distorts the final impression, owing to the vast accumulation of stock during the same month of last year.
We highlight the evolution of the Garofalo brand, which continues to lead the premium segment and is growing strongly in Spain, UK, Switzerland and Canada.
We still have the same structure after pulling out of the dry pasta business of Riviana and Catelli, because we are to provide temporary services to the buyers of both businesses for a year.
The division recorded sales of €277 million and EBITDA-A of €37.8 million.
A complex quarter in costs and highly satisfactory in sales
We have kicked off 2021 with very positive Q1 sales figures, thanks to the good performance of our brands, which remain strong in all their markets. After putting behind us the most difficult moments of the pandemic, consumer interest in our higher value-added products is starting to pick up again.
We have successfully completed the divestment in the North American dry pasta business, closing the deals begun at the end of 2020, and the sale of the Ronzoni brand and Winchester plant.
The Garofalo and Tilda businesses remain on track, stepping up their expansion into other markets.
During the quarter, the difficulties we envisaged at the end of last year materialised: high inflation of freight and agricultural and auxiliary raw materials, a more depressed social and economic context, the return of promotions and reactivation of competition. Solvent management, sound finances and business consistency are the key weapons with which we can put up an effective battle in these complicated times.