Finnish food company Atria Group has seen strong growth in turnover and operating profits during the first quarter despite an “unsatisfactory” performance from its Baltic operations.
Turnover was up 12.7% year-on-year, rising to EUR276m (US$375.69m), while operating profit more than doubled, increasing from EUR4.5m last year to EUR11.5m this year. Atria said the group saw significant improvement in operations across Sweden, Finland and Russia, all of which contributed to the company’s increased profitability.
Turnover in Sweden was up 31%. During the quarter Atria Group bought 57% of the Swedish food company Sardus and made a public cash offer of SEK475m for the remainder of the shares. In April Atria announced the completion of the acquisition of 98.6% of Sardus. The group has commenced proceedings to acquire the remaining Sardus shares and it is expected that the acquisition will have a positive impact on earnings in the coming quarter.
Meanwhile, excellent sales and cost controls boosted Atria’s Finnish performance, where, the company said, it consolidated its market leadership position in the prepared meats category.
In its Russian market, Atria reported that it saw strong growth in St Petersburg and established new customers in Moscow, meaning that it is well placed to see continued growth in the second quarter.
However, earnings in the Baltic region were flat and operating profits dropped from EUR-0.5m to EUR-0.9m. In order to counter this downward trend, Atria said that it is planning an investment programme valued at about EUR8m to drive growth in the group’s Estonian business. A reassessment of the Lithuanian business operations is currently underway, the outcome of which will be revealed in the second quarter, the company added.