Fourth-quarter sales for the Finland-based food group Atria showed a €21.9m year-on-year sales growth, with sales for the quarter totalling €360.6m.
In a financial statement, covering the period 1 October to 31 December, Atria board directors confirmed new and long-term financial targets for the company. New financial targets included earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 5% and a return on equity of 8%.
Q4 net sales for Finnish operations totalled €221.4m, which represented an increase of €14.5m on last year. The EBIT rose to €11m, compared to €7.1m year-on-year. According to the group, the increase was caused by “improved conditions” in the meat market and higher sales prices.
Cured sausage production is due to be moved from Finland to the company’s plant in Denmark, with the aim to improve productivity and “thus strengthen the company’s position as a cured sausage producer”, which means the Finnish plant will stop production this autumn, said Atria.
The transition of cured sausage production is expected to generate yearly savings of around €0.3m and all employees working at the Finnish factory will be offered a transfer to other parts of the company. “Cured sausages sold under the Atria brand will nevertheless still be manufactured using only Finnish meat”, Atria added.
Scandinavia and Russia
Net sales for Atria’s Scandinavian operations in Q4 totalled €103.2m, compared to €97.7m in the same period last year. Net sales for Scandinavia are set to increase by 1.4% year-on-year in local currency and EBIT was €1.9m, which is down €2.3m on the same period last year.
Atria claimed the decrease in EBIT was “due to increasing meat raw material prices”, which could not be passed on to the sales level.
Operations in Russia saw Q4 net sales total €32.8m, which is an increase of €1.7m year-on-year. Atria’s EBIT in Russia includes a non-recurring profit from the sale of its Moscow plan and related non-recurring costs.
Meanwhile, Atria Finland is due to launch a new programme to improve its profitability and convenience in the foods production sector.
Atria said: “Atria is investigating options to move the Karkkila convenience foods production to other Atria Finland facilities. A closure of the Karkkila plant will also be assessed. The programme is expected to generate annual cost savings of approximately €1m. Employer–employee negotiations concerning the reorganisation plans have been launched. The negotiations affect a total of 32 people at the Karkkila plant.”