Acquisitions and innovation boost Ebro Puleva earnings

by Eric Schroeder
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MADRID, SPAIN — "Wisely chosen corporate acquisitions, a successful divestment policy, continuation of the business and market diversification strategy and a constant commitment to innovation" helped drive earnings at Ebro Puleva in fiscal 2006, according to the Madrid-based company.

Net income at Ebro Puleva was €180.3 million ($237.9 million), up 16% from fiscal 2005. Net sales for the year rose 15% to €2,448 million ($3,230 million).

During the year, Ebro Puleva strengthened its presence in the food sector, especially in the international market, with the acquisition of New World Pasta and Minute Rice. Fiscal 2006 results only included seven months worth of New World Pasta and two months of Minute Rice, the company said.

Ebro Puleva’s pasta division, which accounts for 24% of total consolidated sales for the company, recorded net sales of €593 million in the year and EBITDA of €92 million. During its first seven months, New World Pasta contributed €149 million in sales for the division.

The company’s rice division saw its net sales increase 2% year on year, despite high price volatility, greater demand from the new European Union member states and the bioengineered rice crisis. Offsetting these challenges were strong growth in the company’s brand business, including the addition of Minute Rice, which contributed €13.7 million in sales and €4.9 million in EBITDA in just two months.

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