Cognis nutrition sales take small dip from bumper 06
terms Q1 2007 compared with an exceptionally strong quarter last
year, especially in functional food ingredients.
In real terms, the business unit reported sales of €86m for the three months, a 1.3 per cent increase on the prior year period. However these figures include sales from acquisitions over the year, such as Napro Pharma in May 2006. In organic terms sales decreased by €1m, or 0.6 per cent. The company said that early 2006 was a particularly good period for functional food ingredients, thanks to major product launches from the food industry - which has not been replicated one year on. However moderate growth was seen this year in antioxidant carotenoids, and strong growth in product for the pharmaceutical and healthcare businesses, which also fall under the unit. The private equity-owned group does not release operating results for its business units on an individual basis, but the overall operating result was €111m, on a par with Q1 2006. Overall, organic sales growth was 4.6 per cent, with net sales up 1.7 per cent to €890m. CEO Dr Antonio Trius said that the Q1 results bore the benefits of higher margin products and higher volumes in the Care Chemicals and Functional Products business unites. While successful cost management was said to be another important driver for growth, he said: "On the other hand, increased raw material prices and unfavourable hard currency issues had an impact on our earnings." Nonetheless, he called the overall results for the quarter "satisfactory", and is looking forward to positive results for the rest of the year. "For the rest of 2007 we expect further solid and profitable growth in sales and earnings, especially in the areas of our core activities Care Chemicals, Nutrition & Health and Functional Products," he said. Earlier this month Cognis announced the completion of a major refinancing, having taken advantage of favourable conditions in the capital markets to issue notes and loans with a face value of €1.65bn. The funds raised have been used to redeem existing bank facilities, second lien loans and rates, and around €350m of outstanding PIK notes at parent level. The result is interest savings of around €60m per year, no scheduled amortization, and an annual cash benefit of around €100m a year.