Madrid / ES. (epg) Spanish Ebro Foods chalked up a net profit of 32,9 million EUR in the first quarter of 2013, two percent more than in the same period of last year.
The Ebitda or gross operating profit totalled 64 million EUR, sliding 0,8 percent year on year owing to both the exclusion from consolidation of Nomen, which had contributed one million EUR in the first quarter of 2012 and the company´s firm commitment to its brands, raising its investment in advertising to 24,2 million EUR, 1,7 million EUR more than in Q1 2012, in line with one of the principal aspects of its strategy.
The net turnover was down five percent at 502 million EUR, mainly due to the lower prices in the pasta division.
At the end of the quarter the company´s final debt was 258 million EUR, 73 million EUR less than in the same period of 2012, a healthy balance sheet which maintains the company in a comfortable financial position, able to launch into new inorganic growth projects, such as the recent acquisitions of 25 percent of the Italian rice company Riso Scotti and the rice mill in the state of Haryana, in India.
The consolidated earnings for the period confirm that we opted for the correct strategy in pursuing the long-term sustainability of the company with a business model based on differentiation and the search for profitability through the generation of synergies and transfer of know-how among the different companies within the group, geographical diversification, a strong commitment to brands, development of an advanced Quality and R+D policy and a firm commitment to the satisfaction of its customers and consumers.
Rice: The evolution of the rice business is very positive, underpinned by the outstanding performance of its European and North American brands, a stable commodity market in Europe and excellent progress of the latest products launched in both divisions. The division turnover was 279 million EUR and its Ebitda stands at 36 million EUR.
Pasta: With durum wheat prices stable at around 280 EUR per tonne in Europe and below 10,3 USD per bushel in North America, the development of this division has been slightly hampered by the loss of consumers´ purchasing power in France, the full effect of the lower prices in the USA and a considerable increase in advertising. Meanwhile, we have achieved a strong growth in market shares: 50 basis points in USA and 80 in France. This business unit achieved a turnover of 263,2 million EUR in the period and an Ebitda of 30 million EUR.