· Net turnover grew by 4% to 575 million euro.
· EBITDA was up 21% year on year to 68 million euro.
· EBIT rose to 50.6 million euro, a year-on-year growth of 30%.
· The launching of new products has taken investment in advertising to 26 million euro, up 17% on 1Q08.
· The 1Q consolidated results show the true solvency of the Ebro Puleva Group, which continues growing at rates of around 20% despite the world economic crisis.
Madrid, 29 April 2009. Ebro Puleva posted a consolidated turnover of 575 million euro in the first quarter of 2009, up 4% on the same period of 2008. The net profit totalled 32.5 million euro, representing a year-on-year growth of 11%.
The growth of the main operating figures was also remarkable. The EBITDA, or gross operating profit, grew by 21% to 68 million euro, while the EBIT, or net operating profit, rose to 50.6 million euro, up 30% on 1Q08.
Commensurate with the strategy of building value around our brands, investment in advertising increased by 17% year on year to 26 million euro.
The strength of our business model
The first-quarter consolidated results reflect the strength and solvency of our business model, reporting 20% yield growth at a time of shrinking consumption across the board. Owing to the defensive nature of the sectors in which we operate, while private label brands are booming, our principal brands have stood their ground and in some cases even increased their market shares, exercising leadership in the different segments and countries in which we operate.
The streamlined balance sheet that the company will present after conclusion of the sale of the sugar division, the prudent management of resources, the diversification in both geographical markets and businesses (present in 22 countries worldwide through 19 subsidiaries) and a broad product portfolio consisting of more than 60 brands are the great strengths that lay the foundations for the group¿s future growth.
As a result of an efficient management of raw material supplies, stabilisation of rice prices on international markets and growth of our high added-value products, our rice business has picked up and now reports growth in both sales and profit margins. The division EBITDA grew by 16% to 29 million euro, while turnover rose by 13.6% to 225 million euro.
The excellent contribution by our rice businesses in North America and the United Kingdom was very important in achieving these results.
The stabilisation of raw material prices, the significant increase in pasta consumption and the synergies obtained in our American businesses through Ebro North America have boosted the results of the pasta division, which has generated an EBITDA of 28.6 million euro, 34% more than that recorded in the first quarter of 2008, taking the net turnover of the division to 241 million euro, up 6% year on year.
On a market complicated by the low prices of private label brands, our dairy division closed an outstanding first quarter with a significant increase in yield, rising 12.3% above that reported in 1Q08, achieved through our commitment to yield instead of volume, based on the Puleva brand, the cost-cutting measures imposed in previous years and the outstanding performance of the infant food range. This division reports an EBITDA of 14 million euro and a turnover of 114 million euro.