Madrid / ES. (epg) Net turnover of Spain’s Ebro Foods S.A. grew by 7.2 percent year on year to EUR 2,035.2 million, boosted by the excellent performance of the brands. The group’s Ebitda, or gross operating profit, rose 13 percent to EUR 236.8 million. Quarter on quarter, it recovered its 2017 level, rising 31 percent to EUR 77.5 million. The contribution by Alimentation Santé in the first nine months of 2019 has been stripped out of these sales and Ebitda figures, being accounted for as discontinued operations. Net profit grew by 15.1 percent to EUR 114.7 million. Net debt rose to EUR 1,041 million, EUR 321 million more than in the same period of last year, mainly due to:
- The acquisition of Tilda, for USD 342 million
- Heavy investment in CAPEX, standing at EUR 107 million at 30 September and estimated at EUR 158 million for year-end
- Application of IFRS 16, changing the accounting of lease agreements and obliging us to capitalise EUR 90 million.
It should be remembered that this debt includes the accounting of Puts held with minority interests in certain businesses, valued at EUR 161 million.
Rice: The US rice harvest was 20 percent smaller than last year owing to heavy rainfall in the spring. A good harvest is forecast in Europe, except for Andalusia, where it may be 15 percent smaller due to salinity. The most important event in this division during the quarter was the acquisition of Tilda, a global premium brand of basmati rice present in over 50 countries and very significant in the UK, Middle East, North America and India. Profitability in the North American business is back on track thanks to the restructuring measures taken to recover profitability in Freeport and Memphis. In Europe, with a flat market, our brands are performing well, especially in Spain, France and the UK. The performance of our subsidiary in Thailand is also very satisfactory this year. Division turnover was EUR 1,134.4 million and its Ebitda EUR 139.8 million.
Pasta: Durum wheat harvests were poor in all growing areas except Spain and France, pushing prices up sharply. The Group is hedged in this respect up to the second half of 2020. As regards the development of business in Europe, the policy of cutting back on promotions in favour of profitability for both the brand and distributors is producing very satisfactory results in Panzani. Garofalo is continuing to make very positive progress in Spain and France, and in fresh pasta, Bertagni and Lustucru are having a good year, with strong growth. Development of the North American business has been uneven, with good results in Canada, where the Health and Wellness products have performed well, and a less positive evolution in the USA, aggravated by the difficulties encountered at our new north-east distribution centre, which have now been solved. Division turnover was EUR 948.8 million and its Ebitda EUR 107 million. These figures no longer include the Alimentation Santé business.
Ebro expects a Financial Year turnover of EUR 2,784.6 million for 2019, up 6.5 percent on 2018. Ebitda is forecast at EUR 340.6 million, 11 percent more than last year, while the net profit is predicted to reach EUR 159 million, a year-on-year growth of 12.4 percent. Net debt is expected to stand at EUR 1,015 million at year-end, slightly less than three times Ebitda.
2019: a satisfactory year
The consolidated results of the first nine months and the year-end estimates reflect, on the one hand, the Group’s diligence in solving the difficulties encountered by its North American business in 2018 and, on the other hand, the strength of our brands, which have reinforced their leadership and positioning in a highly competitive environment.
2019 will also go down as an intensive year in organic and inorganic growth with the acquisition of Tilda, a premium business that strongly complements our Group’s business, and the investments made to optimise distribution in France, the new La Rinconada plant in Seville, the new pan-fried gnocchi lines in Canada and enlargement of the microwave cup plant in Memphis.
It is a year in which we have also built up the healthy and organic categories of our principal brands and concentrated our efforts and resources in the premium, fresh and convenience segments, pulling out of Alimentation Santé, an organic business directed at a specialised channel.