Goodman Fielder EBIT falls 20% in year

by Eric Schroeder
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NORTH RYDE, NEW SOUTH WALES — Goodman Fielder Ltd. posted EBIT for the fiscal year ended June 30 of A$233.1 million ($243.2 million), down 20% from A$289.4 million in fiscal 2011. Net sales fell 2% to A$2,513.7 million ($2,623.4 million) from A$2,556.2 million.

“We stabilized earnings through significant overhead and cost reduction, particularly in our Baking division, but also by achieving further earnings growth in our Asia Pacific business,” said Chris Delaney, chief executive officer. “That has required strict management focus on implementing our restructuring initiative, Project Renaissance, to create a cost structure that is aligned to current market conditions.”

Goodman Fielder said its Baking business posted EBITDA during fiscal 2011 of A$93.2 million ($97.3 million), down 29% from A$131.1 million in the same period of fiscal 2011. Sales in the Baking business also fell, easing 4% to A$979 million ($1,022 million).

“Revenue in the Baking division declined by 4.3% to A$979 million, impacted by reduced volumes, including the loss of a private label supply contract and pricing pressure, including price reductions for supermarket private label bread and the resulting negative price and volume pressure on proprietary branded bread,” the company said.

Goodman Fielder said it has begun rationalizing its product range, reducing the number of products it offers to about 350 from 450 previously. The company during the year did launch Helga’s Sandwich Thins “to capitalize on a gap in the bread market for consumers seeking a lighter bread experience.” Goodman Fielder said the response to the new product has been positive, with sales exceeding initial expectations.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand Goodman Fielder has launched Vogel’s gluten-free bread, which has driven category growth by more than 45%.

Separately, Goodman Fielder addressed media speculation regarding Wilmar International Ltd.’s interest in the company. Goodman Fielder said it has not received a proposal from Wilmar or any third party regarding ownership of the company.

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