Spanish food group Ebro Foods has forecast a 12% rise in earnings in 2014.
The company said it expects net profit to hit EUR148.4m (US$186.7m) this year. Outlining forecasts for the year alongside its nine-month results, Ebro estimated EBITDA would be around EUR283m, a figure it said was “in line” with last year, when it hit EUR282m. Turnover is forecast to rise 8.7% to EUR2.13bn.
In the nine months to the end of September, Ebro generated net profit of EUR105.6m, up 6.1% on the corresponding period in 2013. EBITDA grew 2% to EUR197.2m.
Ebro reported a 5.5% increase in EBITDA from its rice business to EUR104.4m. Sales inched up 0.7% to EUR830.5m.
The company’s pasta arm saw EBITDA fall 2.7% to EUR99.2m. Revenue rose 2.4% to EUR726m.
Ebro said the rising price of raw materials continued to hit its US subsidiary New World Pasta.
Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Inigo Egusquiza said EBITDA from Ebro’s rice division was “better than expected” – but earnings from the company’s pasta arm were “much worse than expected”.
Egusquiza issued a note of caution about the outlook for durum wheat and the analyst lowered his forecast for target price for Ebro. “The outlook for durum wheat is not that stable, with European durum wheat prices increasing significantly as of July as a result of some difficulties with the French harvest.”