Madrid / ES. (epg) Spain’s Ebro Foods S.A. posted a net turnover of EUR 2,082.8 million in the first nine months of 2021. Once again the year-on-year comparison is distorted by the effect of compulsive shopping in 2020, but in terms of CAGR 2021/2019 turnover grew by 6.9 percent, revealing the trust and interest of consumers in the differentiation of our brands and products.
After enduring an EUR 83 million increase in costs, our Ebitda-A stands at EUR 262.5 million, just 1.6 percent down on Q3-2020. Meanwhile, our Net Profit grew by 5.8 percent to EUR 155.2 million, pushed up partly by the net gains on asset sales concluded during the period.
We have a net debt of EUR 904.1 million, EUR 46.7 million less than at year-end 2020. This includes dividend payments in April, June and October, for a total EUR 88 million, EUR 74 million in Capex investments, a EUR 111 million increase in Working Capital since year-end, thanks to commodity positions taken during the period, the payment of EUR 105 million in Corporate Income Tax and EUR 195 million sales revenue of the dry pasta segment in North America during the quarter.
Rice: This Division is still battling with rising costs in logistics, agricultural raw materials and auxiliary materials, energy, etc. Just in transport of aromatic rice varieties from Asia, which are essential for our subsidiaries Riviana and Tilda, the cost has risen tenfold year on year. In the area of raw materials, diversified sourcing and increased working capital are still our mainstays for coping with the prospects of a 15 percent smaller harvest in North America and a 50 percent reduction of the area sown in Andalusia (Spain). Against this difficult backdrop, our investment in convenience foods, consumption of which continues to grow at double-digit rates, is proving tremendously important. In this regard, we expect to start up our La Rinconada macro plant for rice-in-a-cup and other value-added products before the end of the year. The division turnover was EUR 1,312.5 million and its Ebitda-A was EUR 173.4 million during the quarter.
Pasta: One important milestone during the period was the agreement reached with CVC Capital Partners VIII to sell the Panzani dry pasta, sauces and semolina business. The transaction is currently pending authorisation by the competent authorities and approval by Ebro’s General Shareholders’ Meeting. This division, too, has been greatly affected by the high costs of sea freight to the United States, a very important market for the Bertagni and Garofalo businesses, and the high raw material prices, owing to the sharp reduction in the North American harvest. From a business point of view, fresh pasta sales maintain their strong growth in Italy, France and Canada. The division turnover was EUR 811.1 million and its Ebitda-A was EUR 100 million during the quarter.
Ebro forecasts a FY turnover of between EUR 2,790 and EUR 2,830 million in 2021, while Ebitda-A is expected to be between EUR 347 and 352 million. These would be highly satisfactory results in the current inflation environment. Stripping out the extraordinary earnings posted in 2020 owing to the positive impact of the pandemic on our businesses, in terms of CAGR 2021-2019 forecasts point to a growth of over 10 percent in respect of the earnings obtained in 2019.
Value added and diversification: keys to coping with the complicated inflationary environment
We have closed an extremely complicated quarter, owing to the relentless inflation of costs (estimated at EUR 52 million for the Rice Division and EUR 31 for the Pasta Division) with the satisfaction of having managed to weather the storm, thanks largely to our strong positions in raw materials, a consolidated portfolio of value-added products, diligent decision-making and the trust of consumers who, in spite of a rather unsettling economic environment, remain true to our brands. The consolidated results of the first nine months of the year and the year-end outlook also show that we have made the right strategic decisions, such as the acquisition of Tilda, which continues to gain ground within our Group, and our firm commitment to premium products.