Wessanen on track for year-end goals

Utrecht, November 9, 2005 Highlights third quarter 2005 EBITAE up sharply from EUR 9.2 million to EUR 16.1 million. Return on Sales up from 1.9% to 3.6%, owing to improved performance in most businesses. North American Distribution business reports a better than expected sales performance and returns to profitability; Sales in Europe affected by slow months of July and August. Wessanen overall net sales (excluding GFG and Beckers Germany sales of EUR 14 million) decreased by 6% to EUR 450.2 million. Earnings per share up from EUR 0.01 to EUR 0.08 Net debt decreased with EUR 10.1 million to EUR 120.2 million (including interim dividend payout of EUR 14 million); EUR 27 million positive cash flow from operations

CEO statement Ad Veenhof, Wessanen CEO, said: “The results are fully in line with our expectations and reassure us that we will achieve our year-end targets. Main indicator for this is that the restructuring of our North American Distribution operations is clearly beginning to bear fruit, as the group is now reporting a positive EBITAE. The upward swing we have made in this area from EUR 4.6 million negative in Q3 last year to a positive result this period suggests we will end up at a year-end EBITAE level that is clearly above break even. With a decrease of USD 18 million, sales also exceeded the minus USD 25 to 30 million that we anticipated for the quarter at the publication of this year’s half-year results. This indicates that the decrease in sales caused by deliberately terminated turnover and diminished low-carb sales is more and more compensated with new business and sales growth at existing customers. In Europe , margins were close to our strategic targets for the end of 2007. Sales decreased with EUR 15 million. This was the result of somewhat slow consumer retail spending during the summer period, but foremost by a decline in out-of-home sales in the Benelux and competitive pressure in private label. On the upside, we are seeing innovations taking off, feeding our positive expectations for the fourth quarter as well as next year.” Click here to download the complete document Click here to read the Dutch version of this press statement.
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