Inventure Group posts record earnings in '08

by Eric Schroeder
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PHOENIX — The Inventure Group, Inc., a marketer and manufacturer of snack foods, said net earnings for the fiscal year ended Dec. 27, 2008, rose to $2,369,291, equal to 1c per share on the common stock. This compared with a loss of $1,503,473 in fiscal 2007.

Net sales rose 24% to $113,058,715. The gain reflected a 6% gain in snack division sales to $74,700,000. The company said snack sales benefited from continued strong growth in the kettle chip category.

"We are very pleased with our results," said Terry McDaniel, President and chief executive officer of The Inventure Group. "In a time when the economy is in trouble, we managed to grow both of our businesses and deliver $8.2 million of EBITDA in 2008. This represents a 61% increase over the highest earnings in the company’s history.

"Our snack division delivered strong sales and profit growth. Boulder Canyon Natural Foods continues to outperform the category in the natural channel and it grew by another 29% in 2008 over the 32% it grew in 2007. Poore Brothers Kettle Chips had its first national account with a national drug chain and it grew by 18% in 2008. Burger King continues to perform solidly and contributed $5.5 million for the year. We also managed to mitigate a great deal of the volume losses in T.G.I. Friday’s, where fourth-quarter sales were only down 2.5%. Although Friday’s was down 12.5% for the total year, our pounds out of our Bluffton plant were only down 2.5% for the year attributable to the launch of the Boulder Rice and Bean product as well a couple of new private label brands being produced at the Bluffton facility."

Mr. McDaniel said the company’s Rader Farms division again delivered strong results in both the top and bottom lines. On a stand alone basis, revenue growth for the division was 15% and saw margin improvements versus last year.

Looking ahead to 2009, Mr. McDaniel said one of Inventure’s strategies will be to focus on its healthy/better-for-you portfolio, which consists of the Rader Farms products and Boulder Canyon Natural Foods brands. In 2008, the category accounted for 41% of total sales.

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