ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — The board of directors of Aryzta AG said it plans to raise €800 million ($911 million) in equity capital to create the necessary strategic and financial flexibility to implement its business plan. The decision comes on the heels of the company’s recent review of its capital structure.
“A significantly improved capital structure will provide Aryzta with the means to continue to take the necessary steps to re-position the business and deliver on our strategy,” said Kevin Toland, chief executive officer. “Over the medium term, we expect to generate significant cash flow, which will be applied toward continued net debt reduction and to resource selective growth opportunities.”
Aryzta said its efforts to raise the needed capital primarily will be through a rights issue with pre-emptive rights for existing shareholders. Proceeds from the capital increase are expected to be used mainly for debt reduction, the company said.
Aryzta indicated that the operational improvement portion of its business plan is underpinned by Project Renew, a comprehensive set of initiatives put forth by the company targeting annual run rate cost savings of €90 million by fiscal 2021. Aryzta said Project Renew aims to enable a three-year cost reduction of €200 million during fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2021, including operating model cost reductions, procurement and supply chain initiatives, and automation initiatives.
Aryzta said non-recurring expenses are expected to total about €150 million over the next three years.
In addition to its announced capital increase, Aryzta said it remains committed to its previously announced €1 billion deleveraging plan, which would include at least €450 million of asset disposals and the balance from cash flow generations.
“Aryzta has already made solid progress with several non-core asset disposals and remains committed to the disposal of its stake in Picard for which the process remains ongoing,” the company said. “Picard continues to deliver a strong performance and through the refinancing carried out since December 2017 has delivered €91 million of dividends to Aryzta, supporting our FY2018 EBITDA.”