Dutch food group Koninklijke Wessanen has announced that net earnings before goodwill amortisation and exceptional income and expenses over 2002 will amount to €35-40m (US$37-42m), which is in contrast with the previous outlook of 450m.

As a result, the earnings per share will arrive at 50 to 57 eurocents, contrary to the previous outlook of 71 eurocents.

Wessanen said that the primary grounds for the profit downgrade are the development of the results at Tree of Life North America at the end of the fourth quarter of 2002 and a number of necessary changes in the balance sheet of this division. All other Wessanen companies are performing at least in line with expectations, the company stressed.

Meanwhile, the following measures have been taken at Tree of Life NA. Rick Thorne, member of the Executive Board, has also taken over the position of the CEO of Tree of Life NA. At the same time Tree of Life NA´s CFO has been replaced. Both officers have left the company.

The company explained in a release that the previously stated expectations of earnings per share of 82 eurocents over 2003 would not be met. As a direct consequence, Mac Zondervan, Chairman of the Executive Board, has decided to resign. At the request of the Supervisory Board, who regret but respect his decision, Zondervan will not remain in position until a successor has been appointed.