Ebro obtained a net profit of €105.6 million in the first nine months of 2014, up 6.1% year on year, while net profit on continuing operations rose 9.2% to €109.6 million.
Net turnover totalled €1,520.6 million, up 4.4% on the same period of last year.
The group EBITDA rose to €197.2 million, 2% more than in the first nine months of 2013, while the EBIT, or net operating profit, stood at €153.5 million.
The company has reduced its debt by €66.3 million over the past quarter, bringing it down to €364.2 million by 30 September. By year-end, net debt is expected to stand at €434 million, which would include the purchase of 52% of Garofalo plus the value of the remaining 48%, if the purchase option is exercised. This would give an estimated year-end net debt-EBITDA ratio of 1.5.
In the brand business, the division performed satisfactorily in all the geographical areas in which we operate, making good progress in the United States, with strong growth in the varieties with the highest value added, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, accompanied by an upturn in our Moroccan subsidiary.
From an industrial point of view, the severe drought prevailing in Texas since 2011 took its toll on the 2014/2015 crop and continues to affect business results in North America.
Against this backdrop, the division managed a slight growth in turnover to €830.5 million and its EBITDA rose to €104.4 million.
In a sector hard hit by the high durum wheat prices, which have risen by over 86% in Europe over the past year and, more specifically, by 67% since the arrival of the new crop in July, our company Panzani has performed well, with strong growth in volume thanks to relaunching of the classic ranges of product, the satisfactory progress of the strategic businesses of sauces and fresh products and the new communication strategy.
However, in the United States the profits of our subsidiary New World Pasta (NWP) continue to be dragged down, not only by the hike in raw material prices, but also by:
1. The logistics problems caused by the congestion suffered by the North American railway system, which has led to higher transport costs and less efficient use of our industrial capacity.
2. And the added difficulty of passing these higher costs on in the final price of the product, owing to the high level of promotion in this category throughout the year.
As a result, the division posted a turnover of €726 million and EBITDA of €99.2 million.
Outlook for year-end 2014
Ebro expects to obtain a turnover of €2,126 million for FY2014, up 8.7% year on year. EBITDA should be of the order of €283 million, more or less on a par with last year, while net profit is forecast at €148.4 million, up 12% on 2013.
Sound management and business model
The consolidated results of this nine-month period and the estimates forecast for year-end illustrate, once again, the sound management and business model of our company, which is constantly adapted, redesigned and innovated to combat the effects of external factors such as the congestion of the US transport system, the adverse weather conditions or the rising prices of raw materials.
Market shares have been maintained and in certain business segments they have even increased. The company continues extending its field of action through inorganic growth, such as the purchase this year of 52% of the Italian premium pasta firm Garofalo, and enlargement of its product and country matrix, with numerous launchings such as the premium range of Lustucru Frais® in France or the new Brillante® cups of Brown Rice with Quinoa and Four Cereals in Spain.
About Ebro Foods
Ebro (www.ebrofoods.es) is the leading Group in the Spanish food sector in terms of turnover, profit, market capitalisation and international presence. Ebro is world leader in the rice sector and the second group in the international pasta sector. It has leading brands in each of these sectors, including: Panzani®, Ronzoni®, Skinner®, Healthy Harvest®, American Beauty®, San Giorgio®, Catelli®, Lancia®, No Yolks®, Wacky Mac®, Olivieri®, Garofalo®, Santa Lucia® and Russo de Cicciano® in pastas and sauces; and Mahatma®, Success®, Carolina®, Minute Rice®, Lustucru Selection®, Taureau Ailé®, Oryza®, Bosto®, Reis-Fit®, Riceland®, Danrice®, Risella®, Abu Bint®, Blue Ribbon®, Adolphus®, Comet®, Lassie®, Saludaes®, SOS®, Brillante®, La Cigala®, Sundari® and La Fallera® in the rice sector.