Otis Spunkmeyer fuels N. American growth for Aryzta

by Jeff Gelski
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND -- Despite a challenging food industry environment in the United States, the Food North America segment of Aryzta AG enjoyed double-digit sales and profit growth in the year ended July 31. Results for the division, which includes the La Brea Bakery and Otis Spunkmeyer businesses, outperformed the Arzyta’s overall corporate results for the year.

Operating profit of Food North America in the year ended July 31 was €71,579,000 ($104,104,000), up 24% from €57,797,000 in fiscal 2008. Net revenues were €555,110,000 ($807,352,000), up 22% from the year before.

On a "like-for-like" basis, Aryzta said revenue growth for Food North America was 13% and operating profit was up 30%, excluding the impact of acquisitions and foreign exchange. The operating margin widened by 80 basis points to 12.2% for the year ended July 31.

The company said Otis Spunkmeyer was the principal growth driver in fiscal 2009 while "La Brea proved resilient."

Aryzta estimated fiscal 2009 capital expenditures in Food North America at €14,158,000 ($20,591,000), down 28% from €19,763,000.

On a companywide basis, Aryzta profits in fiscal 2009 were €40,977 ($59,597,000), down 71% from €142,477,000. Sales were €3,212,270,000 ($4,672 million), up 21% from €2,660,946,000.

"The world economy suffered a major slowdown during the period (fiscal 2009), and this is reflected in the Food Group’s underlying revenues, which swung from double-digit growth to a decline, within the 12 month period," the company said.

Aryzta was created in August 2008 from the merger of IAWS Group P.L.C. and Hiestand AG. Aryzta is a specialty baking company. Its largest division is in Europe, accounting for more than 80% of sales.

Aryzta also is the majority shareholder in Origin Enterprises P.L.C., which focuses on the Agri-Nutrition sector in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Poland.

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