"Good results" from Orkla Brands

"Good results" from Orkla Brands

Faster profit growth from food has buoyed quarterly and annual results at Norwegian conglomerate Orkla.

The company, which has interests in aluminium, energy and finance alongside food, said profits from its Orkla Brands food unit rose by 9% in the fourth quarter of 2009 to NOK874m (US$148m).

Orkla Brands' profits for the whole of 2009 climbed 8% to NOK2.79bn, with margins also improving in the fourth quarter of the year.

Orkla said the Orkla Brands division, which comprises Orkla Foods Nordic, Orkla Brands Nordic, Orkla Brands International and Orkla Food Ingredients, had seen its profits improve due to price hikes and "cost improvements".

Fourth-quarter revenues at Orkla Brands fell 6% to NOK6.32bn, although the company insisted underlying sales were "on a par" with the fourth quarter of 2008.

"The overall effect of price increases was significantly lower in the fourth quarter than in earlier quarters in 2009," Orkla said.

Annual sales at Orkla Brands were down 1.5% at NOK23.04bn.

However, Orkla said the "good results" from Orkla Brands had helped drive a 7% rise in group-wide operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2009 to NOK1.07bn.

Fourth-quarter sales reached NOK15.04bn, down from NOK16.49bn in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Looking at 2009 as a whole, Orkla's operating profit fell by 43% to NOK2.4bn. Revenues dropped 14% to NOK56.2bn.