Madrid / ES. (epg) Spanish Ebro Foods posted a net profit of 158,5 million EUR in 2012, a year-on-year growth of 4,5 percent, while profit before tax was up 11,5 percent to 248 million EUR. Its net turnover rose to 2’041 million EUR, up 13 percent on 2011. Major growth was also achieved in the operating parameters, with a year-on-year growth of 9,7 percent in the Ebitda or gross operating profit, to 299,5 million EUR and an eight percent growth in Ebit or net operating profit, to 242 million EUR. The company´s net debt at year-end stood at 244,8 million EUR, 145 million EUR less than in the previous year, giving it a sound financial position with which it will be able to embark on new inorganic growth projects if they arise and fit in with the Group´s strategic targets, as was the case with the recent purchase of 25 percent of the Italian rice company Risso Scotti.
A very positive year
The consolidated earnings of 2012 reveal the significant growth of Ebro´s business model, returning to Ebitda levels of the order of 300 million EUR, similar to the figures posted when the company still had the sugar and dairy businesses, while bringing its debt down to ratios below 1x Ebitda. The company has continued its strategy of supporting the strong positioning of its brands with a constant Marketing and Innovation policy, achieving considerable success in some of its recent launchings, in both its traditional business lines of rice and pasta and in related lines we have branched into recently, such as potato or frozen foods.
Rice: The development of the rice division was very positive over the period, backed by the successful consolidation of the SOS rice businesses and an excellent performance of the European and North American subsidiaries. In a scenario of tough competition, Riviana has chalked up its best result on record, consolidating its position in the Ready to Serve (RTS) category and growing in the frozen foods segment. In Europe, Herba has also posted good earnings, fighting off the onslaught from private level brands with a strong positioning of its own brands and placing its innovations in the best position on the shelves. Brillante Sabroz is already the 5th brand in Spain in terms of sales. The division posted a turnover of 1’105,7 million EUR and Ebitda of 161 million EUR.
Pasta: In Europe, our subsidiary Panzani achieved a highly positive performance, with satisfactory progression in all its business areas, growing in volume on a very mature market, with exceptional growth in the sauces segment and a successful launching into the potato segment with «Noisette à Poêler». In the United States, following a number of decisions that brought changes in the management team, price adjustment and greater investment in Marketing, the yield of our subsidiary New World Pasta (NWP) started to show signs of picking up in the last quarter of the year. The division posted a turnover of 928 million EUR and Ebitda of 145,3 million EUR.