Aryzta eyes North American growth as sales in the region slow

Aryzta eyes North American growth as sales in the region slow

Switzerland-based bakery group Aryzta has set its sights on expansion in North America with the acquisition of two bakeries in the region - Pineridge Bakery in Canada and Cloverhill Bakery in the US.

The company said it had agreed to pay a combined EUR730m (US$1.01bn), with further post-acquisition investments of EUR70m anticipated. Aryzta said its deals would "significantly" boost its North American bakery capabilities, customer access and product portfolio.

The acquisitions are expected to generate double-digit earnings per share growth in fiscal 2015, the first full year the businesses will be included in Aryzta's results, the company said.

The baker announced the news as it reported its first-half results for the six months to 31 December.

During the period, Aryzta booked a 3.5% drop in sales from its North American businesses. The group's "rest of world" units also saw sales decline - dropping 9.9%. However, this was more than offset by a 19.1% increase in European sales.

Overall, food sales were up 5.7%. EBITA from Aryzta's food businesses increased 5.6% to EUR194.2m, while underlying net profit gained 6.5% to EUR129.4m.

However Origin, the group's agribusiness joint venture, weighed on the group result. As a result, group sales were up 1.7% to EUR2.10bn, group EBITA increased 6.4% to EUR198.3m and underlying fully diluted net profit increased 4.7% to EUR135.6m.

The company reiterated its guidance for double-digit earnings per share growth in fiscal 2014. 

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