The company’s consolidated net sales for the period totalled €1,061.6m, marginally down from the previous year’s figure of €1,061.7m. However, its EBIT was down from €27.5m in 2017 to €21.5m, attributed to poor profitability in Sweden and Russia due to currency fluctuations.
The group saw success in its Finland, Denmark and Estonia divisions due to improved sales structures and cost management. This growth was cancelled out by the Swedish and Russian arms of the business, which suffered from a weak krona and rouble as well as an increase in raw material prices.
Chief executive Juha Gröhn outlined the positives for the business over the past nine months. “The moderately good economy has had a positive impact on consumer demand, and market development has remained favourable in all the countries in our business areas. The poultry and convenience food product groups showed the largest growth. Eating out continues to increase its popularity, yielding interesting opportunities for increasing foodservice sales. On the other hand, the increased demand has raised the costs of several materials, supplies and services. Price competition has continued [to be] strong.”
Gröhn added that some targets were not met by the business. “In Sweden, the growth and profitability targets were not reached. This was influenced by high raw material costs, the poor profitability of poultry operations, and the persistently weak Swedish krona, thus increasing the costs of imported materials and supplies.
“Profit and net sales in Russia did not meet set targets. The prices of meat raw materials have risen in two peaks – first in spring and, for a second time, in early autumn. This has resulted in a lowered margin level. The sales of Sibylla products have been good. Likewise, foodservice sales are on the rise.”
Looking ahead, Gröhn said raw material costs were to be expected following the warm summer.
“The hot and dry summer decreased crop harvests all over Europe. The prices of cereals, crops and animal feed have increased strongly during the autumn. The price of meat is also on the rise. Atria is preparing for increased raw material costs.”