Dutch organic food group Wessanen will become "leaner, fitter and more profitable", its chief executive pledged today (25 October).

CEO Piet Hein Merckens said Wessanen, which owns brands including Kallo and Bjorg, was looking at ways to lower costs and speed up decision making.

"As previously announced, we have also implemented short term measures to lower operational costs, while at the same time we are assessing the company’s structure and cost base on a more structural basis," Merckens said.

"This assessment is well under way and we plan to share the conclusions late November. We aim to reduce complexity, streamline processes and make steps to improve the speed to market and decision making as a result of which substantial cost savings are to be achieved."

The comments came as Wessanen reported mixed third-quarter financial results. Sales and underlying operating profit increased thanks to improved results from its grocery business. That said, on an organic basis, sales dipped 0.2%.

Wessanen's third-quarter net profit was more than half the level of a year ago when it benefited from higher earnings from US drinks arm ABC, which it plans to sell as part of its bid to focus on the organic food sector.

Over the first nine months of 2012, Wessanen's sales, operating profit and net profit fell year-on-year.

However, Merckens added: "Eventually, I envisage us to be a leaner, fitter and more profitable company as well as a great place to work for all those embracing organic, sustainable and healthy food."

Shares in Wessanen were up 0.14% at EUR2.19 at 16:13 CET.