Bonduelle reaffirmed target for FY operating profit

Bonduelle reaffirmed target for FY operating profit

Bonduelle, the French canned and frozen food group, today (4 August) booked annual sales that surpassed the company's targets, helped by its businesses outside Europe.

Revenue hit EUR1.98bn (US$2.17bn), up 3.2% on a year earlier. At constant exchange rates, Bonduelle said its sales beat its own forecasts, rising 4.1%. In February, it had estimated growth of 2-3%.

The company saw sales outside Europe, a third of the business, grow 9.4% to EUR700.6m. Bonduelle cited "strong turnover growth" in eastern Europe as it benefited from its local production base in Russia, where an embargo on certain food imports from companies in western Europe remains in place.

Bonduelle also cited a "strong expansion" of its frozen business in the US retail and foodservice channels.

Sales in Europe were flat at EUR1.28bn. Bonduelle pointed to "strong sales" of its namesake and Cassegrain brands. There were some "voluntary declines" in Bonduelle's private-label business, amid "unsatisfactory" prices, while the frozen category in the foodservice channel remained "difficult".

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Aurélie Husson-Dumoutier said: "Overall [the results] came in slightly below our forecasts but with better-than expected growth outside Europe. This augurs well for FY margins as activities outside Europe tend to bear above-average EBIT margins."

Bonduelle is due to report its full annual results in September. The company said "the outstanding commercial performance recorded over this FY supports the growth prospects for the current operating result of 2014-2015", which it revised upward in February to growth of 7-12% at constant exchange rates.

Last month, Bonduelle was reported to be weighing up a bid for Green Giant, the canned and frozen vegetable business owned by General Mills. For our take on whether Bonduelle would bid for the assets, click here.