Finnish food company Raisio has posted a 9.7% increase in sales in the first quarter of its financial year, however the group's sales in Western Europe were down marginally on the same period last year.
The Benecol maker posted sales of €54.7 million for the period, up from €49.9 million in the same period last year, while earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) was €6.6 million, up 32% year-on-year.
"Raisio’s first quarter of the year was a tour de force for our personnel. This year is the second year of our strategy period and its leading theme is the internationalisation of our oat-based added-value products," said Pekka Kuusniemi, president, CEO.
"In January, we announced two strategic steps we have taken to this end; namely, the modernisation of the Nokia mill, particularly to enable the production of gluten-free oat products, and the update of our 95-year-old Elovena brand to make it more suitable for international markets and new product categories."
Kuusniemi noted that the nature of its operations changed during the quarter as a result of the pandemic and took on a very tactical approach aimed at maximising its supply capability.
Demand shifted strongly to retail sales as demand in the Food Service-sector declined rapidly due to operational difficulties experienced by the sector’s customers, he highlighted.
"Grain-based products were of particular interest to consumers stocking up during March and, at the same time, the retail business focused on ordering large volume products as a means of surviving the logistical challenges presented by the period of increased demand," Kuusniemi said.
"We also focused the volumes within our own supply chain and managed, I believe, to do an excellent job keeping up with the changes in demand brought on by the exceptional circumstances."
The Group’s outlook remains unchanged.
In 2020, the group said that expects its net sales for continuing operations to grow and comparable EBIT to be over 10 per cent of net sales.
Raisio said that it will continue its investments in the brands, R&D and the company's own production in its most important product categories.
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