Innovation helps lift Wessanen sales

Innovation helps lift Wessanen sales

Wessanen reported higher sales and a jump in full-year earnings thanks to progress made on its drive to focus on European health and wellness brands and sell-off non-core businesses.

The Dutch company said today (20 February) that full-year sales increased to EUR433.5m (US$491.8m), up from EUR407.3m last year. The company said its brands "continued to gain momentum" thanks to distribution gains and innovation.

Earnings were also up. Operating profit jumped to EUR20/6m versus EUR13.2m in 2013. Net profit was further lifted by disposals, rising to EUR45.3m compared to a loss of EUR100,000.

During 2014, Wessanen adjusted its portfolio through acquisitions and disposals. The group purchased Italian free-from dairy business Abafoods and divested Natudis and IZICO successfully. Bio-Distrifrais was sold-off in January. "The divestment process of ABC is progressing," said CEO Christophe Barnouin. "When finalised, we have transformed ourselves into a pure player in healthy and sustainable food."

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Wessanen Q4 and full year 2014 earnings release

Q4 2014 highlights

Autonomous revenue growth 5.2%; core brands and categories performing well Underlying revenue growth 7.5% EBITE of €1.3 million, impacted by higher long-term incentive plan expenses (€1.1 mln) and increased marketing spending In January, we acquired Abafoods, a European expert in organic vegetal drinks Net cash position of €27.3 million (year end 2013: net debt €50.7 million) Full year 2014 highlights

Transformation into a focused European player in healthy and sustainable food almost completed Natudis, IZICO and Bio-Distrifrais successfully divested; divestment process ABC progressing Revenue growth of 6.4% to €433.5 million; autonomous revenue growth of 3.8% Core brands performing well with five brands posting double-digit revenue growth New product launches and increased distribution EBITE increased 21% to €23.6 million while marketing investments increased Dividend proposed of €0.10 (wholly in cash), a doubling compared to last year's €0.05

CEO statement

Christophe Barnouin (CEO) commented: "In 2014, we made strong progress in executing our strategy to transform Wessanen into a focused European player in healthy and sustainable food. Our brands have continued to gain momentum on the back of new product launches and increased distribution.

In the fourth quarter, we recorded autonomous growth of 5.2%. This was driven by strong growth of our core brands, six of them showing double-digit increases. We invested more in marketing in the quarter and the full year to build our brands. We will continue to invest more in our brands to grow and strengthen their positions in our growing markets in 2015 as well.

Italian Abafoods strengthening our operations

Early January, we closed the acquisition of Abafoods, which is a major step in executing our strategy. Its unique expertise in organic dairy alternatives will strengthen our R&D and production capabilities to fuel the growth of our dairy alternatives brands in Europe. It also gives us critical mass in Italy, which is a large and growing organic market in Europe, with a leading brand position thanks to Isola Bio.

Non-core divestment programme

During the year, we divested Natudis and IZICO successfully, while Bio-Distrifrais has been divested early January. The divestment process of ABC is progressing. When finalised, we have transformed ourselves into a pure player in healthy and sustainable food.

A unique contribution to sustainability

By focusing our entire organisation and product portfolio exclusively on organic, fair trade, vegetarian and healthier products, all teams at Wessanen contribute every day to one clear and unified goal, defined by our mission 'healthier food, healthier people, healthier planet'."

Original source: Wessanen