Benecol owner Raisio booked higher Q1 profits

Benecol owner Raisio booked higher Q1 profits

First-quarter sales fell at Raisio but profits increased as the Finnish food group pulled the plug on some businesses and switched its focus to others with greater value.

Post-tax profits in the three months to the end of March were EUR5.9m, up from EUR4.7m a year earlier. EBIT increased 20% to EUR8m.

The Benecol owner's net sales fell almost 5% to EUR128.3m after a decision to switch to more profitable operations.

However, CEO Matti Rihko acknowledged Raisio would have liked sales to have been stronger in the first quarter of the year.

"[The] decline in net sales shows that we have been focusing on more profitable businesses and products. As part of the streamlining measures, we have also given up activities, in which we do not see enough growth potential. On the other hand, we have started activities, in which we know we can add value with our expertise. EBIT was at a strong level, but we would have liked to see more sales."

Raisio forecasts "moderate" net sales growth and a "solid improvement" in EBIT in 2013.

Shares in Raisio were up 2% at EUR3.57 at 10:46 CET.

Click here for Raisio's results for 2012. Click here for an interview with Rihko in February after the 2012 results were announced.

And click here for today's statement from Raisio on its numbers for the first quarter of 2013.