AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS — Currency effects, including a stronger U.S. dollar, helped to lift both net sales and EBITDA for Corbion nv in the first quarter of 2015. EBITDA increased 48% to €37.2 million ($40.3 million) from €25.1 million in the previous year’s first quarter. Sales climbed 20% to €220 million ($238 million) from €182.7 million.
“Organic sales growth for both Food and Biochemicals business segments was either above or in the respective guidance ranges as mentioned in the October 2014 strategy update,” said Tjerk de Ruiter, chief executive officer of Amsterdam-based Corbion, when results were given April 24. “Good underlying growth, phasing effects and strengthening of the U.S. dollar resulted in an exceptionally high EBITDA.”
Corbion also gave an update on a March 11 explosion in a spray tower at a manufacturing facility in Grandview, Mo. Three employees were taken to a hospital on March 11 and released the same day. Corbion said it is working to rebuild the spray tower at the facility, which produces dry blend ingredients and emulsifiers for sale to the bakery and food industries. Corbion expects the incident to have a negative financial impact of about €3 million in net sales for 2015. Corbion expects insurance to cover repair and remediation costs directly related to the incident.
In the first quarter of 2015, Corbion’s Biobased Ingredients segment, which includes Food and Biochemicals, reported EBITDA of €39.3 million, up from €27.8 million in the previous year’s first quarter. First-quarter net sales rose to €216.3 million from €180.4 million. Volume growth of 3% in Biobased Ingredients mostly was driven by 4% volume growth in Food.
Within Biobased Ingredients, Food had EBITDA of €30.6 million, up from €23 million in the previous year’s first quarter, and net sales of €160.8 million, up from €133 million.
“Bakery sales grew slightly in Q1 2015,” Corbion said. “Most of the growth came from our strategic initiatives such as sweet goods and some of our innovative products.
“The overall market shows few signs of growth in demand. Meat sales grew both in the U.S. and in the rest of the world. In the U.S., our label friendly products are growing faster than average, while switching by our customers to low cost in use alternatives was limited during the quarter.”
Also within Biobased Ingredients, Biochemicals had EBITDA of €12.6 million, up from €9.5 million in the previous year’s first quarter, and net sales of €55.5 million, up from €47.4 million. Central costs accounted for a loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of €3.9 million, which compared to a loss of €4.7 million in the previous year’s first quarter.The Biobased Innovations segment had a loss before income, taxes, depreciation and amortization of €2.1 million in the first quarter, which compared to a loss of €2.7 million in the previous year’s first quarter. Net sales were €3.7 million, up from €2.3 million.