FY 2011: Wessanen taking encouraging steps towards achieving strategic goals

FY 2011 highlights

  • Grocery and ABC drivers of 2011 2.9% autonomous revenue growth
  • FY '11 normalised EBIT up 20%
  • Dividend per share of €0.08 (payout ratio of 40%)

CEO Statement

Piet Hein Merckens (CEO) comments: "The past year was very encouraging for all of us at Wessanen. We concentrated on building the future of our company resulting in a step by step improvement of our top and bottom line. In particular the way we make progress is stimulating. We made serious progress in how we orchestrate the execution of our strategy. Personally there is more consistency in the way of working in various areas such as brand activation, central sourcing, operational excellence, customer excellence and export. Innovation is essential for future success; we therefore implemented European Category Brand Teams and local Innovation Boards to realise fewer, bigger and better innovations.

Grocery conducted much good work on the positioning of our brands. We also further invested in consumer insights for our core brands and categories. Bjorg continued to launch innovations, we converted Zonnatura to organic, launched Bjorg in Germany, boosted the 'Biobest' shelf in the Netherlands, relaunched soy under the Kallo brand and executed a 'cutting the tail' program in the UK.

At HFS, we continue to work hard at implementing multiple improvements. We are confident that we are addressing the right things in the right way, although it will be a step-by-step improvement since the translation of these measures into tangible results takes time. Overall, HFS had a disappointing year, despite the numerous positives such as great product launches by Allos, Bonneterre, Ekoland and Tartex, new GooodyFooods store openings and increased focus due to our divestments made.

Frozen Foods achieved many positive results with activations and innovations such as Bicky Double Chicken and the Beckers 'Family Man of the Year' contest; this despite a subdued economy, which especially impacted our private label sales. Cooperation between our two units gradually improved.

ABC posted strong 2011 results, which are mostly attributable to our fast growing Daily's ready-to-drink frozen pouches. We furthermore revitalised Little Hug. Multiple processes in areas such as sales, supply chain, production and finance have improved performance dramatically in the last two years.

Our Q4 performance is broadly in line with previous quarters and confirms the full year trends. Grocery and ABC showed a good performance, while at HFS and Frozen Foods we need to improve. The impairments we had to take reflect the current state of business and the fact that the road to recovery in these businesses may take longer than previously assumed.

Our focus is on putting our strategy into action. We are on a multi-year journey and are determined to improve our performance and further consolidate our positions and brands. We have a strong leadership team in place and the execution of our strategy is progressing. We ended 2011 stronger than we started and I envisage this will continue during 2012 and in the years to come."

For more information
Carl Hoyer, VP Corporate Communications
Telephone +31 (0)20 3122 142 / +31 (0)6 1235 5658
Email carl.hoyer@wessanen.com / investor.relations@wessanen.com

Download the FY/Q4 2011 results announcement here (PDF, 525k)

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