just-food presents the key metrics from company financials in bitesize format, with analyst insight and social media comment alongside graphs illustrating a business’ historical performance to give you an easy-to-read digest of the numbers you need to know.

ABF sees improvement in FY grocery margin

Associated British Foods has provided a trading update for the 16 weeks to 6 January and said the company made “progress” in adjusted operating profit and earnings.

– Group revenue was up 4%. Strength in sterling versus the euro has helped; sales from continuing operations based on actual exchange rates rose 3%

– ABF grocery sales rose 4% on a constant currency basis and 1% based on actual exchange rates

– An improvement in te grocery margin is forecast for the full year  

The company said: “ACH traded strongly in the US with an improved market share for Mazola, and margins at George Weston Foods in Australia were further improved. Volumes at [UK bread arm] Allied Bakeries remained strong and some progress has been made in reducing the loss for this financial year. Acetum, the Modena-based balsamic vinegar business acquired last year, has delivered sales in line with our expectations.” 

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Bakkavor sees full-year revenue up 4.6%

The UK-based private-label giant provided a full-year earnings update before reporting its official figures on 28 February, and expects group revenues to show a 4.6% increase.

– For the year to 30 December, the provider of fresh prepared food said on a reported basis revenue rose 2.9%, with its results in line with the company’s expectations

– All business groups showed “continued progress” 

HKScan looks to book EBIT loss related to Rauma unit 

Finland-based food group HKScan said in a preliminary earnings release that, as previously reported, it expects to book an annual loss due to costs associated with its new Rauma unit and the “related negative impact of the lost poultry sales”.  

– Net sales are seen coming in at EUR1.81bn (US$2.21bn)

– EBIT predicted at a loss of EUR18m – the company warned in October of such an outcome after revising its outlook

“The estimated ramp up cost of the new Rauma unit and the related negative impact of the lost poultry sales due to the lowered delivery capability in Finland amounted together to some EUR25m million in total,” HKScan said.

Official results are due on 7 February.

Finsbury Food Group H1 sales rise

UK bakery business Finsbury Food Group has reported a rise in half-year sales.

The company said its trading in the six months to 30 December was “in line with management expectations”.

Finsbury said first-half revenues rose 0.7% to GBP157.8m (U$218.4m), including the contribution from the Grain D’Or plant it closed last month. Excluding that asset, revenues were up 2.5% at GBP144.8m.

– Sales from UK bakery division up 3.2%

– Sales from overseas arm down 2.1%

16 January

Premier Foods sales rise as strategic partnerships add “strongly” to growth 

The UK’s Premier Foods plc, which this week played down speculation it was considering selling its Batchelors brand, reported a 4% increase in third-quarter sales and said its strategic partnerships with Nissin Foods Holdings and Mondelez International contributed “strongly” to growth. 

– Sales in the 13 weeks to 30 December were GBP261.4m (US$360.5), with year-to-date revenue up 2.6%

– International sales climbed 26%

– Q3 grocery sales up 4.8%, helped by 13.9% jump in non-branded sales

– Q3 sweet treats sales 2.2% higher but sales from brands down 7.3%

– Year-to-date sales of grocery brands increased 1.9%; sales of sweet treats down 4.2%

– Non-branded grocery sales climbed 9.9%; sweet treats sales up 18.7%

Jefferies International equity analyst Martin Deboo commented on Premier’s third-quarter results: “The Q3 has come in ahead of our expectations – a second consecutive quarter of beat. Core branded grocery is back solidly and consecutively in positive territory. Sweet treats was the Q3 problem child but profit materiality is much lower. International continues to accelerate and is we think accretive to growth by c.200bps. Full-year profit expectations are unchanged but foundations would appear to be being laid for a better 2019 on both top and bottom line.

“Year-to-date sales growth of 2.6% is now within the guidance range (of 2-4%) given in the aftermath of the McCormick bid, with the underlying quantity and quality of delivery improving, in our view. Profit and EBITDA should be up modestly, but only after marketing investment has been tightly controlled. Come 2019, Premier needs to demonstrate that the full flow of GBP20m cumulative cost savings can benefit simultaneously bottom line and incremental investment in brands. That way an equity story lies.”

Lindt & Sprungli passes sales milestone but misses expectations

Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Sprungli has passed the CHF4bn (US$4.14bn) annual sales mark for the first time.

Announcing its 2017 sales figures, Lindt said: “Given the challenging conditions, such as largely saturated chocolate markets, a changing retail landscape and growing pressure on prices, this represents a good performance.”

However, the rate of growth was below the company’s forecasts and market expectations.

– Sales up by 4.8% to CHF4.08bn

– European sales up 6.2%

– NAFTA area sales down by 1.6% 

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said: “Lindt’s 2017 organic sales growth of 3.7% was below guidance of around 5%, consensus of 4.2%, and below its 6-8% medium-term target amid pressure on North America where we see structural pressures continuing to weigh in the future.”

Marine Harvest Q4 EBIT down – but by less than expected

Seafood giant Marine Harvest saw its operational EBIT fall by more than 30% in the fourth quarter of 2017 – but the drop was less steep than analysts had expected.

Marine Harvest booked operational EBIT of EUR177m, down 31.7% on the fourth quarter of 2016. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected operational EBIT to hit EUR172m.

The company plans to issue its full fourth-quarter financial results on 14 February.

15 January

Bellamy’s Australia upgrades full-year revenue, EBITDA guidance

Infant-formula maker Bellamy’s Australia is upgrading its full-year revenue and profit guidance provided in October.

The company also said it has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the remaining 10% “beneficial ownership” in Camperdown Powder, conditional on the latter getting approval from the Chinese government to sell-Bellamy’s branded products. In July, Bellamy’s announced it had taken the other 90%. 

– Revenue growth guidance raised to 30-35% from 15-20%

– Expected EBITDA margin revised to 20-23% from 17-20%

Bellamy’s explained the revenue revision was due to the “seasonality impact of platform events, higher winter consumption in China and Chinese New Year”, as well as to the “‘Chinese label’ sales occurring in 1H18 due to previously announced delays in Bellamy’s CFDA registration. In accordance with previous guidance, these sales are expected to total approximately AUD18m (US$14.4m)”. 

9 January

Simply Good Foods off to a decent start

US nutritional snacking company Simply Good Foods saw an increase in sales and income in its first quarter to 25 November compared to the equivalent period a year ago.

CEO Joseph Scalzo said: “We are off to a solid start for fiscal year 2018 as we benefited from increased sales volume and gross margin expansion resulting in solid profit growth.

“We are particularly pleased with our strong retail performance for the 13 weeks ended November 25, 2017, which grew 5.5% in the US despite a very difficult comparison in the same period a year ago. We remain confident in our business growth opportunities moving forward and our ability to execute against our four strategic growth initiatives to create value for our shareholders.”

– Net sales up 6.8% to US$106.6m

– Adjusted EBITDA up 6.6% to $23.7m

– Net income up by 11.7% to $10.2m

5 January

Cal-Maine H1 sales up but anti-trust claim settlement bites

US egg supplier Cal-Maine Foods has enjoyed a sales surge of 26.5% in the half year to 2 December (compared to the prior-year period) but the business is making a loss as a result of an agreed settlement of anti-trust claims.

Dolph Baker, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the company, said: “At the end of 2017, we reached an agreement on material terms of the settlement of antitrust lawsuits that several large purchasers had filed nearly a decade ago against the company and many other egg producers.

“While we deny any liability in these cases and still believe that our conduct has always been lawful, we decided that it was in the best interests of our shareholders, customers, and employees to settle these long-standing cases at this time. This settlement eliminates the substantial risk, uncertainty, expense, and distraction associated with continuing the litigation against these purchasers.

“While the charge related to this settlement affected our financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2018, we had a solid operating performance during the quarter.”

– Sales increased by 26.5% to US$624m

– Operating loss improved by 26.9% to -$64.8m

– Net loss before non-controlling interests improved by 28% to $42.2m

4 January

Lamb Weston ups full-year sales guidance

The US-based potato product supplier raised its full-year sales growth guidance into the mid- to single-digit range from low-to-mid digits after reporting a rise in first-half revenue.

“Our second-quarter and first-half results were solid,” said Tom Werner, president and CEO.

Lamb Weston also now expects annual adjusted EBITDA at $780-790m versus $740-760m previously 

– Sales increase 5% to US$1.64bn in the six months ended 26 November

– Adjusted EBITDA climbs 12% to $380m

– Net income drops 1.6% to $171.3m

3 January

Yowie cuts sales guidance after Canada launch delays

The Australian confectioner lowered its sales growth guidance for the year ending June 2018 to 17% from 55% after a delay in its Canada product launch and because of the expected underperformance in its Discovery World business in the US.

Yowie also announced the departure of CEO Bert Alfonso, who will be replaced by group COO and head of the North American division Mark Schuessler, effective immediately.

– First-half sales through December climb 7.5% to US$10m

– North American sales drop 11.7% to $8.2m

– Australia net sales at $1.8m, beating plan by 15%