Ebro Foods sees rice boost in H1

Ebro Foods sees rice boost in H1

Ebro Foods has booked higher first-half sales and operating profit, helped by improved revenue and earnings from its rice arm.

The Spanish group posted a 21% jump in net turnover to EUR1.19bn. As well as the better results from rice, Ebro also pointed to the contribution recent acquisition Garofalo made to its pasta business and, to a lesser extent, a benefit from foreign exchange.

EBITDA rose to EUR141.3m, up 8%

Net profit fell 14% to EUR96.4m but Ebro said its bottom line in the first half of 2014 was boosted by the absence of capital gains, including last year's sale of shares in olive oil group Deoleo.

Ebro's rice division posted turnover of EUR633.3m, up from EUR549.8m a year ago. The unit generated EBITDA of EUR85.2m, compared to EUR69.2m in the first half of 2014. The company said recently-acquired US business RiceSelect saw sales grow 7% "barely one month" after it joined the company.

Sales from pasta increased, rising from EUR460.7m in the first half of 2014 to EUR584.9m, helped by last year's acquisition of a majority stake in Italian pasta maker Garofalo. However, EBITDA fell from EUR66.1m to EUR60.8m as Ebro continued to feel the benefit of higher durum wheat prices last year. It also pointed to a fall in pasta consumption in the US.