London / UK. (abf) Food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods PLC (ABF) reported the following Annual Results Announcement for the year ended 12 September 2015:
|Financial Highlights||Actual||Constant Currency|
|Group revenue 12.8 billion GBP||-1.0 percent||+2.0 percent|
|Adjusted operating profit 1’092 million GBP||-6.0 percent||-4.0 percent|
|Adjusted profit before tax down six percent to 1,034 million GBP|
|Adjusted earnings per share down two percent to 102.0 Pence|
|Dividends per share up three percent to 35.0 Pence|
|Gross capital investment of 613 million GBP|
|Net debt reduced to 194 million GBP|
|After profits less losses on sale and closure of businesses and exceptional items, operating profit down twelve percent to 947 million GBP, profit before tax down 30 percent to 717 million GBP and basic earnings per share down 30 percent to 67.3 Pence.|
George Weston, Chief Executive of Associated British Foods, said: «We delivered a strong operational performance despite the challenges of food commodity deflation and big movements in exchange rates. The group continues to generate strong cash flows and to reduce net debt. While marginally down, our earnings per share result underlines the group’s strength».
This financial year has been characterised by continuing investment in businesses with growth opportunities and a relentless drive for improved efficiencies and cost reduction. The two major challenges facing the group have been well flagged – food commodity deflation and substantial movements in currency markets.
A key influence on our food businesses has been deflation in many of our major commodities, making growth in revenues difficult to achieve. The most notable examples are the substantial declines in both the EU and world sugar prices. We have also experienced significant movements in exchange rates with a strengthening of sterling and the US dollar, and a weakening of the euro and emerging market currencies. These movements had a negative effect on the translation of overseas results but also, and increasingly as the year progressed, on transactional exposures.
Against this background a two percent decline in adjusted earnings per share is all the more creditable and the group continued to generate strong cash flows and reduce net debt significantly as a result.
This year has seen growth for a number of our businesses. Primark expanded its retail selling space by nine percent this year with a major increase in its presence in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and at the end of the year it opened its first store in the US. Brand development at our Grocery businesses included a major relaunch of Twinings black teas in the UK, growth for Mazola driven by strong advertising of its cholesterol lowering benefits and commercial success for the Don meat brand in Australia. Our enzyme business went from strength to strength and was a key contributor to the profit increase in Agriculture and Ingredients. We continue to position our businesses to enable them to maximise revenue growth opportunities.
The EU sugar price has stabilised in the latter part of the year. However, the significant fall both in EU and world sugar prices has put considerable strain on the world sugar industry and has sharpened our focus on securing the long-term profitability of our business. As one of the lowest cost producers we have always sought to reduce costs and maximise production efficiency. Significantly, this year, we have secured lower future beet costs for our EU sugar businesses and closed two uneconomic factories in Heilongjiang, China.
Cost reduction was not confined to our Sugar businesses. The substantial profit and margin recovery in Ingredients and margin improvement in Grocery were also driven by wide ranging initiatives in these businesses.
We continued to invest for the long term with gross capital expenditure on property, plant, equipment and intangible assets of 613 million GBP. Over half of this was spent on Primark’s expansion where, this year, we added 20 new stores and almost one million square feet to the estate. We expect next year’s increase to be even greater. We also increased the scale of Primark’s distribution infrastructure to support this growth by extending existing warehouse capacity and opening new facilities in the Czech Republic and the US. The focus of our capital expenditure within the food businesses was directed at expansion of capacity-constrained facilities and on improving production efficiency.
Cash flow was again strong this year despite a working capital outflow driven by higher sugar stocks. Net debt at the year end was 252 million GBP lower than last year at 194 million GBP. With the group’s cash generating ability, the lower net debt and the committed borrowing facilities available, we have the capacity to meet our growth ambitions.
At the heart of our group is the very simple philosophy that helping to feed and clothe people is a virtuous and valuable endeavour. Our approach to ensuring that we provide our customers with high quality, ethically sourced products in a responsible manner is described in our latest Corporate Responsibility update which is published today and available on the group’s website at www.abf.co.uk/responsibility.
The Senior Independent Director, Tim Clarke, was appointed to the board in 2004 and, in accordance with the UK Corporate Governance Code, having completed nine years’ service in 2013, the rest of the board must now confirm his independence annually. This having been done, we are delighted that Tim has agreed to continue as a member of the board and as the Senior Independent Director.
Javier Ferrán completed nine years on the board at the beginning of November 2015 and has agreed to continue as a director but retired from the Audit committee at the conclusion of its meeting on 26 October. The rest of the board has considered, and subsequently confirmed, his continuing independence. Lord Jay has also completed nine years on the board and will retire at the end of November. We have benefited greatly from the breadth of Michael’s experience and I would like to record my thanks to him for his wise counsel and highly valued contribution to the board over the years.
In January we welcomed Wolfhart Hauser to the board as a non-executive director and he was appointed to the Audit committee in April. Dr Hauser was chief executive officer of Intertek Group plc until his retirement in May 2015, and during his career he led a broad range of successful international service industry businesses. He is currently a non-executive director of RELX Group plc, formerly Reed Elsevier, and chairman of FirstGroup plc.
This year’s success is testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of our employees who, in many of our businesses, and particularly in Sugar, have been operating in difficult market conditions. I would like to thank them all for their valuable contribution, particularly to the various continuous improvement initiatives that have led to substantial cost reduction across the group this year. These required a robust challenge to historic practices, innovation and creativity, and an absolute determination to succeed, all of which underpinned delivery of this year’s result.
KPMG or one of its predecessor firms has been our auditor since the Company was incorporated in 1935. In light of the new requirements of the UK Corporate Governance Code, the external audit of the group financial statements was put out to tender during the year and the board has now appointed Ernst + Young LLP as the Company’s new auditor with effect from four November 2015, subject to approval by shareholders at the annual general meeting. I would like to take this opportunity to thank KPMG for their unstinting professionalism, for the insight that they have brought and the value that they have added to our businesses during their 80 year tenure.
I am pleased to report that a final dividend of 25.0p is proposed, to be paid on eight January 2016 to shareholders on the register on eleven December 2015. Together with the interim dividend of 10.0p paid on three July 2015, this will make a total of 35.0p for the year, an increase of three percent.
The good underlying trading achieved by our businesses in 2015 is expected to continue. We intend to maintain investment in expansion opportunities, most notably for Primark. After three years of large profit declines for AB Sugar, we expect greater stability in profit next year ahead of EU quota removal in 2017. However, the substantial moves in exchange rates last year, notably the weakening of the euro and emerging market currencies, will have a significant influence on the results for the coming year. At current rates the translation impact would be at a similar level to last year but the transactional impact would be greater and will be seen primarily in Primark and British Sugar. At this early stage we expect the currency pressures to lead to a modest decline in adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings for the group for the coming year (Charles Sinclair, Chairman).
Chief Executive’s Statement
I am pleased with the trading performance and the progress made by each of our businesses this year. Grocery, Agriculture, Ingredients and Retail all increased their profits. Sugar profit was, as expected, substantially lower than last year as a result of much weaker euro-denominated EU sugar prices, but the business made great strides in reducing operating costs.
Group revenue declined by one percent to 12.8 billion GBP but was two percent higher at constant currency. Adjusted operating profit was six percent lower at 1’092 million GBP, and four percent lower at constant currency.
The international diversity of the group means that our businesses operate and transact in many currencies and are therefore subject to both translational and transactional currency exposures. During the financial year, against a basket of currencies, the euro and emerging market currencies weakened significantly and the US dollar and sterling both strengthened. The full year impact of these movements in exchange rates on the translation of overseas results into sterling was 31 million GBP. In order to understand the underlying operating performance of each of our businesses, in the operating review we have referred to year-on-year changes at constant currency.
Food commodity price deflation was the primary reason for the decline in revenues in each of our food businesses this year and was also the major driver of the big decline in profit at AB Sugar.
This is the third year of significant profit decline for AB Sugar as a consequence of falling EU and world sugar prices. It is encouraging that EU prices have now stabilised and the steps we have taken, and continue to take, to reduce our cost base, are aimed at creating a profitable business at these price levels and in a post-quota environment in the EU.
We took the opportunity to increase our ownership of Vivergo Fuels this year. This is a well-invested, cost-competitive asset, with a promising longer-term outlook. As the existing supplier of grain to the business through Frontier Agriculture and as the seller of its distillers’ grains through AB Connect, we are well placed to maximise the returns from this business.
The development of our Grocery businesses this year was reflected in the improvement in the overall operating margin to nine percent. The acquisition of Dorset Cereals has brought us a strong consumer brand with exciting growth potential that complements Jordans and Ryvita. Twinings Ovaltine had yet another year of excellent profit growth with much activity promoting the premium qualities of the Twinings brand. After a difficult first half of the year which was affected by higher cost and poor quality raw materials, I am very encouraged by the progress made by our Australian meat business, Don KRC, both in volume gains and improved factory efficiency. Pricing became tougher for our bread businesses in the UK and Australia. Volumes for the UK business increased steadily during the year leading to high utilisation of our well-invested bakeries.
Profit in Ingredients recovered even more strongly this year as the new management team at AB Mauri, our yeast and bakery ingredients business, made further progress in reducing its cost base and restructuring its operations in China and Europe. A major contribution was also made by our enzymes business which had a highly successful year with growth in a number of its markets.
AB Agri delivered another great result and deserves credit for its consistently strong performance over the last five years driven by innovation, diversification and geographic expansion.
The exciting expansion of Primark is very much on track with the addition of nearly one million square feet of selling space, the opening of our first store in the US at the end of the year, and the announcement that we will be opening in Italy next year. Trading in France was very strong and built on the highly successful market entry in 2014. Like-for-like sales growth was good at one percent albeit held back by the effects of a strong store opening programme in the Netherlands and Germany. Following Primark’s exceptional trading last year, we saw a return to a more normal level of markdowns this year and margin was lower as a result.
Grocery operating profit increased by five percent at constant currency with Twinings Ovaltine and our US vegetable oils business well ahead of last year. Revenues were three percent lower, held back by commodity price deflation, leading to an increase in margin.
Twinings Ovaltine grew market share in a number of regions and generated a strong profit increase. In the UK, where the market for mainstream teas saw some contraction, Twinings’ sales of premium teas grew. Black tea packaging formats were relaunched, including a premium, loose-leaf, mesh teabag range, driving UK market share to an all-time high. Australia also had another successful year with the relaunch of the English Breakfast range supported by advertising and in-store promotion. Ovaltine sales in Thailand, one of its most important markets, were lower than last year on the back of economic weakness, although margins improved as less volume was sold on promotion. Growth was achieved in Ovaltine’s developing markets, particularly south-east Asia and Nigeria. Strong factory performances across the business delivered lower manufacturing conversion costs, and overheads were also lower benefiting from cost reduction initiatives.
Sales volumes at Allied Bakeries increased over the financial year although the UK bread market continued to be very challenging and lower bread prices resulted in a reduction in profitability. The Kingsmill brand was relaunched in May with new packaging across the range. Following last year’s highly successful launch, revenues from Sandwich Thins continued to build and benefited from the addition of a wholemeal variant to the range. We completed our major capital investment programme during the year, introduced a variety of initiatives which reduced waste and further streamlined production, and delivered products of a consistently high quality throughout the year.
Silver Spoon substantially improved operational efficiency this year and achieved commercial success with increased volumes to the major UK retailers. In the home baking sector, Allinson maintained its position as the leading bread flour brand. Since its acquisition in October 2014, Dorset Cereals has traded ahead of our business plan and its integration with Jordans Ryvita went smoothly. The business gained market share and three products won 2015 Great Taste awards. Jordans continued to perform well, also gaining market share in the UK and launching very successfully in Australia. It also launched its Jordans Farm partnership in conjunction with LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and the Wildlife Trust ensuring improved sustainability and biodiversity on the farms of our oat suppliers. Ryvita had a more difficult year with lower crispbread sales in a competitive market. The introduction of a second sweet crispbread variety, Apple + Cinnamon, was well received and Ryvita Thins continued to grow strongly.
At AB World Foods, Patak’s and Blue Dragon maintained their positions as the leading Indian and Oriental ambient brands in the UK. An improved sales mix drove an overall margin increase and operating profit was ahead of last year. The business achieved further growth in its export markets with particular success for Patak’s in Australia and Canada. The UK ethnic restaurant and takeaway market has seen some improvement after several years’ of decline, with increased consumer expenditure on out-of-home eating. Westmill achieved margin improvement with its Chinese catering brands performing particularly well driven by strong commercial activity.
Revenue and operating profit at George Weston Foods in Australia were in line with last year. Tip Top bread volumes increased but margins fell as retailers featured bread in their drive for lower prices with heavy price promotion activity more than offsetting the benefits of cost reduction and productivity improvements across all bakery sites. Margins in the Don KRC meat business were affected by the high cost of bought-in raw materials in the first half, but improved substantially in the second driven by higher volumes, lower-cost raw materials and improved production efficiency. The management team remains focused on driving continued improvement in sales and factory performance.
At ACH in North America, Mazola achieved good volume growth following increased investment in advertising and marketing which highlighted the cholesterol-lowering benefits of corn oil. A better sales mix saw margins improve in the Flavours business, and Foodservice continued its steady growth driven by an improved economic climate.
Revenue and adjusted operating profit for AB Sugar were substantially lower than the previous year primarily driven by the further decline in EU sugar prices, and the underlying decline in profit was even greater given the non-repeat of last year’s restructuring charge. In light of the structural changes in the world’s sugar industry, we remained focused on delivering significant cost reduction across all of our businesses through our ongoing performance improvement programme. This will reduce our cost base but the reductions in the year could not compensate for the impact of lower prices.
Sugar prices in the EU stabilised towards the end of the financial year and with quota stock levels expected to reduce back towards historic norms during 2015/16, we have seen some price recovery for the 2015/16 marketing year. Prices in China increased during the year, as a consequence of lower domestic production and reduced imports, although they remain at a premium to import prices. World sugar prices remained under pressure declining to below 11.0 cents per pound at one point, thereby holding back domestic prices in some regions.
UK sugar production of 1.45 million tonnes was driven by very high beet yields and excellent factory performances. The UK crop for the 2015/16 season has made good progress but, with a reduction, for that year, in the contracted area under cultivation in excess of 25 percent, and a return to more typical beet yields, sugar production is expected to be just short of 1.0 million tonnes. This will lead to a welcome fall in our stock levels following this year’s high sugar production. Delivered beet costs for the 2015/16 campaign will be some 20 percent lower than the current year with a further substantial cost reduction now secured for the 2016/17 campaign.
In Spain, all factories performed well. Total production was ahead of last year at 709,000 tonnes of which 414,000 tonnes was from beet and 295,000 tonnes from refined raw sugars. The area under cultivation for 2015/16 is expected to be similar to this year.
Illovo produced 1.64 million tonnes in the year to September, marginally less than last year. The effect of drought on cane growth in South Africa was largely offset by strong production volumes across all other countries of operation. Zambia achieved record sugar production and further development at the factory is now planned which will increase sugar refining capacity and create new sugar conditioning and storage facilities to enable the supply of higher quality sugars to the region. The Malawi sugar market has been seriously disrupted by the country’s continued economic difficulties and sales volumes and prices were lower as a result. In Tanzania, sugar production increased with the benefit of better growing conditions and an improved factory performance. Some improvement in the local trading conditions enabled an increase in domestic pricing and an improved sales mix, with pre-packed sugar taking an increasing share of the domestic market. Illovo continued its focus on the development of domestic and regional sales which have become increasingly important as world and EU prices become less attractive.
China saw some recovery in market prices and profitability improved as a result. In the south, cane volumes were some 30 percent below the previous year due to a combination of a lower planted area and poorer yields due to adverse weather conditions. Sugar production reduced from 560,000 tonnes to 413,000 tonnes in the year, benefiting from good factory extraction rates. The campaigns at our remaining northern beet factories, Qianqi and Zhangbei, were excellent with good factory throughput and better beet availability following our success in working with the growers over a number of years. Together, these two factories produced 94,000 tonnes of sugar in 2014/15.
In January, we announced our decision to cease sugar operations in Heilongjiang. Achieving beet yields sufficient to provide our factories in this region with an adequate supply of raw materials, at a competitive cost, has been particularly challenging for a number of years, even with the benefit of significant advances made both in agricultural and factory operations. We concluded that our factories at Yi’an and BoCheng were likely to remain uneconomic for the foreseeable future. We have now sold both factories and the final cost of ceasing these operations was 100 million GBP all of which was a non-cash charge. We have now commenced the relocation of most of our management team from the head office in Beijing to our remaining operating sites.
Vivergo Fuels This business was formed in 2007 as a joint venture between ABF, BP and DuPont, which built a world-scale, wheat-fed, bioethanol plant at Saltend in Hull. In May, we assumed BP’s share in the business thereby increasing our interest to 94 percent. In recent years the European market for bioethanol has been weaker than expected and we foresee that we may need to run this plant at a small loss in the short term. However, as the percentage of ethanol inclusion in gasoline increases in line with EU mandated targets by 2020, this market is forecast to move from surplus to deficit which we expect to lead to a price increase. Further operational improvements were made at Vivergo Fuels this year but continuing low prices resulted in the business sustaining an operating loss.
AB Agri had another record year with strong performances across all businesses. Adjusted operating profit was 18 percent ahead of last year at constant currency but revenues were eight percent lower than last year as a result of softer commodity prices. Importantly, cash margins in the UK feed business were maintained.
UK feed volumes held up well despite continued pressure on the UK dairy sector where AB Connect’s range of ruminant feed products offered a cost effective way of maintaining or improving milk yields and quality. It was a year of recovering volumes in the poultry sector following a difficult period, whilst in the pig sector, feed volumes were slightly ahead of last year. Market concerns remain over the relative cost of British pork compared with euro-denominated imports, but consumers have continued to support British produce. In Speciality Nutrition, the recent expansion and modernisation of the UK premix plant at Rugeley enabled the business to meet higher domestic demand and this year has also seen the further extension of its European operations into the strategically important Spanish swine market.
In response to the UK government’s commitment to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, AB Agri has now gained accreditation for its energy management system which has been deployed across all of its UK manufacturing sites and major offices. This will result in better measurement and management of energy use in the business and will increasingly inform its strategic investment decisions.
Frontier Agriculture, our joint venture arable operation, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Formed in April 2005, the business has since doubled in size and now serves 10,000 customers. Over this decade the income from the supply of crop inputs such as fertilisers, seeds and agronomy services has grown significantly and now exceeds that from its original grain marketing business. This year, the business traded at similar levels to last year with added complexity in its grain trading operations, and lower than normal protein levels in domestic wheat which increased the demand for quality wheat imports.
AB Agri China delivered a strong result driven by good procurement and a favourable product mix. The new feed mills are performing well with Zhenlai delivering substantial cost savings to its major customer and Rudong, which was built to supply feed exclusively to a major international processor, already performing to plan.
AB Vista, our international feed ingredients business, continued to deliver strong growth in both sales and profit, driven by further success for Quantum Blue which achieved significant market share gains in the phytase market. Encouragingly, we see further growth opportunities in new applications and geographies where AB Vista currently has a lower presence, and planned expansion of AB Enzyme’s fermentation plant in Finland will ensure supply can match our growth expectations.
Ingredients’ revenues were three percent ahead of last year at constant currency and for the second successive year the increase in operating profit was substantial, driven by stronger trading across all businesses and a focus on overhead reduction. As a consequence, margin was much improved.
AB Mauri, our bakery ingredients and yeast business delivered a second year of significant profit recovery in a market that remains very challenging. This was driven by its operations in the US and Canada and, despite difficult economic conditions, Brazil and HispanoAmerica also made good progress. We were the first to launch a successful liquid yeast product in Argentina, re-enforcing our technical and market leadership position in this region. Cost reduction and improved plant utilisation resulted in a better operating result from our facility at Veracruz in Mexico which is now exporting high quality yeast products to customers in 34 countries. Our newly integrated milling and bakery ingredients business in Australia and New Zealand achieved volume growth and a good result despite a difficult market with competitor price pressure.
The successful integration of our recently acquired European bakery ingredients business has broadened our product offering, strengthened our market position and delivered significant cost synergies. The UK business introduced a gluten-free bread and cake range of bakery ingredients, developed to meet the rising demand for such products, as well as a range of natural-based cereal fermentation products, suitable for application in all bread types, which help to deliver flavour and texture to the product.
AB Mauri’s smaller, speciality yeast business which operates in non-bakery markets achieved significant growth. Good progress was made in Europe where our attractive product portfolio and capability in ethanol process optimisation are increasingly being recognised in the market. In the alcoholic beverages market, we maintained our status as a leading supplier of distillers’ yeast to the UK’s whisky industry and grew sales in the wine sector with new product launches and expansion into new geographies.
ABF Ingredients delivered excellent growth in sales and operating profit with all businesses making progress. This was a highly successful year for enzymes driven by continued growth in feed enzymes, which are distributed by AB Agri, a number of successful new product introductions in the baking and pulp + paper sectors, and increased market penetration in detergents. The preparatory work to expand the enzymes factory in Finland is now well under way.
Yeast extracts and speciality powders advanced with a focus on higher value products and improved plant utilisation. Further development of our extrusion and granulation operations in North America saw the speciality cereals business achieve growth in its animal feed and health bar markets. Our speciality lipids business progressed well, particularly in health and nutrition and personal care applications.
Sales at Primark were 13 percent ahead of last year at constant currency mainly driven by an increase in retail selling space of nine percent. Like-for-like sales were one percent ahead of last year reflecting a strong performance across a number of countries. Very high sales densities were achieved by stores opened in the last 18 months and especially by our stores in France, which has been our most successful new market entry to date.
Like-for-like sales in the early part of the financial year were impacted by the unseasonably warm autumn followed by strong trading across the important Christmas period. Spring trading was held back by cool weather followed by strong trading in the fourth quarter of our financial year. Spain, Portugal and Ireland all performed very well throughout the year and the UK delivered a positive like-for-like performance. The success in these markets was partly offset by the impact that the opening of new stores in the Netherlands and Germany had on existing stores in that region, albeit that this effect reduced in the fourth quarter. As new stores opened, sales in existing stores declined as customers chose to shop more locally rather than travelling the long distances that we saw in the early days of trading in these countries.
Our very successful trading in 2013/14 led to an unusually low level of markdown in that year. As anticipated, markdowns returned to more normal levels this year with a consequent reduction in operating margin. To a lesser extent, margin was also reduced by the effect of the stronger US dollar, at the end of the financial year, on purchases for the new autumn/winter range. Primark sources much of its merchandise in US dollars and its strength, particularly against the euro, will have a further adverse effect on margins in the new financial year, especially in the first half. However, more than half of the potential impact has been successfully mitigated by our buying teams as they have placed orders for next year.
During this financial year we opened almost one million square feet of selling space bringing the total estate to 293 stores and 11.2 million square feet at the financial year end. 20 new stores were opened including relocations to larger premises in Northampton and Murcia, Spain. We closed our store on The Headrow in Leeds, following the success of the much bigger store opened in the nearby Trinity shopping centre in December 2013, and we also closed two very small stores, one in Margate and another in Naas in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the net additions in the year to 15. These new stores included 77,000 square feet at Downtown Crossing in Boston, our first store in the US, which opened on ten September. Significant new space was added in the Netherlands, Belgium and in Germany where an additional six stores were opened, the largest of which were Dresden, Braunschweig, Krefeld and Weiterstadt.
We have an extensive pipeline of new stores to be opened over the next few years with some 1.5 million square feet scheduled for the new financial year, the major elements of which will be in the north-east US, the UK, Spain and France. In the US we will add seven stores, totalling 0.4 million square feet, most of which will open later next year; Spain includes a flagship, 133,000 square feet, store on Gran Via in central Madrid which opened this October; and, following our success in France this year, we will open in Lyon, Nice and Toulon. We will also open our first Italian store at a new shopping centre in Arese, north-west of Milan, early next summer.
We have made a significant investment in our warehouse infrastructure and further expenditure is planned for next year. In total we will have doubled our warehouse capacity since 2013. Our existing warehouse in Torija in northern Spain was doubled in size at the beginning of this year, the facility at Mönchengladbach in Germany was increased by 60 percent and a new warehouse in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was fully operational in time for the opening of the Boston store. In September, we opened a new warehouse in Bor, on the western border of the Czech Republic. Next year will see the relocation of our Magna Park, UK warehouse to a larger site at Islip in Northamptonshire, close to our existing warehouse at Thrapston. This will give rise to some dual running costs for a short period. Another distribution centre is currently under construction at Roosendaal in the Netherlands which will come on stream late next year. Located in one of Europe’s prime logistics hubs between Rotterdam and Antwerp, this facility will service our expanding network of stores in continental Europe (George Weston, Chief Executive) (Image: usp).