Apetit has posted a loss for the first nine months of the year

Apetit has posted a loss for the first nine months of the year

High global prices for grains and economic conditions in Finland have weighed heavy on food group Apetit's bottom line for the first nine months of the year.

For the nine months ended 30 September, Apetit reported a loss of EUR12.1m (US$15.1m) compared with a profit of EUR4.9m for the same period a year earlier. It also posted an operating loss of EUR11.2m compared with an operating profit to EUR4.3m last year. Sales fell 9% to EUR264m.

Its third quarter followed a similar pattern with a loss of EUR11.1m compared with last year's profit for the period of EUR2.5m. An operating loss of EUR11.1m was recorded versus an EUR1m operating profit. Sales dropped 16% to EUR77.0m.

Last month, Apetit warned on profit and sales expectations for the year, advising a declining market price for sugar and "poor profitability" of its fish products arm was affecting its food business. As a result the group said profit would "fall short" of a year earlier.

Today (6 November) outgoing Apetit CEO Veijo Merilainen said the company was looking again at the purchasing and sales activities of its food divison "in order to achieve better profitability and sustainable competitiveness in these product groups". The aim of the programme is to achieve a reduction of EUR4.5m in annual expenses.

In March, Juha Vanhainen, vice president at Finnish pulp and paper manufacturer, will replace Merilainen as Apetit CEO. Merilainen will remain on the board of directors. 

Apetit did not respond when asked by just-food why Vanhainen's start date had been accelerated from the originally-planned date of 2 April nor why Merilainen was stepping down as CEO.