Cuisine de France owner bullish despite revenue fall of one-third

Aryzta hails ‘simplified’ company structure as it battles a collapse in investor confidence

Revenue at Swiss-Irish food group Aryzta fell by more than a third in the last quarter, but the par-baked goods specialist brushed off the fall and hailed the benefits of its "new simplified organisation" as it continues to turn a corner.

The company, which owns the Cuisine de France label here and supplies the likes of McDonalds and Subway, saw revenue increase to €424.9 million in the first quarter of 2022.

While the figure was down 36.8 per cent year-on-year, it should be noted the company has sold a significant portion of its business over the past 12 months as part of a major streamlining exercise.

Confidence

Aryzta has been battling a collapse in investor confidence linked to its ailing US business, more than a €1 billion in net debt built up through a series of acquisitions in the wake of the financial crash and its complex capital structure.

However, it said on Tuesday it had achieved 9.8 per cent organic growth in the quarter in terms of continuing operations comprising 8 per cent volume growth and a 1.8 per cent price/mix improvement. Price/mix is the value of a product determined by the producers.

Europe achieved a broad-based double-digit organic growth of 10.1 per cent comprising 8.6 per cent volume growth and 1.5 per cent price/mix growth.

Its rest of world operations achieved 7.9 per cent organic growth comprising of 4.3 per cent volume growth and 3.6 per cent price/mix growth.

Volume growth in Europe outperformed the rest of the world due to a “continued strong recovery” while the rest of the world was “affected by Covid-related lock downs in New Zealand and Australia”.

Divestment of the Brazilian operation and the Swiss Sandwich business affected total revenue growth of continuing operations by 1.2 per cent, while currency movement contributed 0.3 per cent.

Aryzta said the performance “reflects the benefits of the new simplified organisation and the empowerment of local management to engage with customers”.

“A re-invigorated innovation programme in all markets helped deepen customer engagement leading to an improved margin profile due to beneficial mix changes,” it continued.

“Continuing high inflation requires a combination of pricing and acceleration of operational efficiencies to protect the business performance.”

Growth

The company reiterated its full-year guidance for 2022 for mid-single digit organic revenue growth with positive volume and pricing contributions.

Aryzta interim chief executive Urs Jordi said: "We achieved strong organic momentum in the first quarter as recovery continued across all our markets.

“The combination of strong volume recovery, positive price/mix in the period reflects the benefits of our new lean multilocal business model. Customer engagement has increased around innovation, product mix changes and service levels.

“We are continuously working on cost mitigation measures to further improve our lean and efficient structure. In conjunction with pricing we are improving our mix of higher margin product through innovation.”