Otis Spunkmeyer, La Brea boost IAWS '07 profit

by Eric Schroeder
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DUBLIN, IRELAND — Operating profit of the Food North America segment of IAWS Group P.L.C. was €41,745,000 ($58,788,000) in the year ended July 31, up 151% from €16,631,000 in fiscal 2006. Sales within the segment jumped 165% to €369,131,000 ($519,727,000) from €139,072,000.

IAWS said the Otis Spunkmeyer business, acquired in 2006, contributed €22.1 million in net cash during the period.

"The group has made substantial investment in developing its Lifestyle Foods business in the North American value-added bakery market through acquisition and capital investment in recent years," IAWS said. "This has created an operation of substantial scale with iconic brands and a national reach in the U.S."

During fiscal 2007, IAWS said it achieved a 5% share of the $12 billion value-added bakery market, and established a leadership position in artisan bread and sweet baked goods, primarily through its acquisitions of Otis Spunkmeyer and La Brea.

"The Group estimates that the U.S. market is growing at a rate of 8% for artisan bread and 5% for freshly baked cookies," IAWS said. "The acquisition of La Brea Bakery in 2001 enabled the group to grow category leadership nationally in artisan bread while the Otis Spunkmeyer acquisition gives leadership in sweet baked goods. Revenues in the U.S. have now reached an annualized $600 million."

IAWS said Otis Spunkmeyer contributed about €220.1 million in sales during the year.

At La Brea Bakery, underlying growth continued at a high rate, IAWS said, with revenues increasing by 15.2% to €149 million while operating profits rose by 17.8% to €19.6 million.

"Innovative product development based on lifestyle trends and superior brand awareness continue to drive above par growth in this dynamic category," the company said. "This, together with ongoing capital investment in the Group’s unique bakery technology, enables La Brea to maximize opportunities arising from growth trends favorable to freshly baked artisan bread.

"The acquisition of Otis Spunkmeyer has been an excellent strategic fit, giving the group new levels of reach and scale in North America by virtue of its extensive U.S. production capabilities and distribution infrastructure."

Companywide, IAWS posted sales of €1,907,619,000 for the year ended July 31, which compared with €1,557,305,000 in the previous year. Operating profit of €146,448,000 for fiscal 2007 compared with €111,815,000 in the previous year.

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