Madrid, 5 May 2008. The Ebro Puleva Group achieved a satisfactory development in the first quarter of this year, posting a net profit of 29.3 million euro, up slightly on 1Q07, and a turnover of more than 717 million euro, representing a year-on-year growth of 10%.
The EBITDA or gross operating profit totalled 73 million euro, sliding 2% owing to the depreciation of the dollar and the Group¿s firm commitment to boosting its brands, investing some 22 million euro in advertising.
The consolidated results of Ebro Puleva reflect the Group¿s hard work to face the challenges of a market reeling from the raw materials price hike and return to the profit levels recorded prior to the commodity revolution.
The source diversification strategy and the experience and quality of this division¿s commercial relations have been crucial for coping with the price pressure on the international rice market. Bolstered by the excellent performance of our brands and the 300% growth in the US range of microwave rices, the division EBITDA grew 21.2% (at constant currency it would have been 31%) to 25 million euro, with a turnover of 206.2 million euro.
The pasta division continues to increase its market shares. With the stable raw material market and new products launched in Europe and the USA, the prospects for the year as a whole are good. The recently incorporated Birkel contributed 26.4 million euro to the turnover, which rose to 230.6 million euro, while the division EBITDA totalled 21.4 million euro, weighed down by the 33% increase in advertising investments and the exchange rate.
The division coped with the change in consumer purchasing habits through market niche segmentation and its baby foods activities. The baby milks business achieved a year-on-year growth of 37.5%, accounting for 8.2% of the division EBITDA.
The commercial activities of Lactimilk have been restructured and incorporated within Puleva Food. This restructuring, which cost approximately one million euro this quarter, together with the adaptation of our production structure, will generate major savings in the near future.
The division recorded an EBITDA of 13 million euro and a turnover of 136 million euro.
Following completion of the restructuring of the European sugar sector, Azucarera Ebro has renounced 363,000 tonnes of quota, maintaining a final quota of 378,480 tonnes, plus a further 100,000 tonnes from the company Nueva Comercial Azucarera. Since the CMO reform has been concluded on the terms required by the European Commission, the international sugar market is expected to be much more stable in forthcoming months.
The division posted a turnover of 156.6 million euro, while its EBITDA slipped 6% to 17 million euro, pulled down by the increased restructuring charge.