Aryzta shares lowest in years as sales fall
Shares in Swiss-Irish food group Aryzta fell to their lowest price in almost two years after the firm reported third-quarter revenue that missed analyst estimates.
Overall the company recorded sales of €973.2m for the period to the end of April, an increase of 13.2pc compared to the same period last year.
However, this was less than the €976.8m that had been predicted by analysts, while underlying revenue fell by 2.3pc.
In Europe, revenue grew by 4.7pc to € 405.9m, largely driven by growth in in-store-bakery in the large retail channel led by discounters.
Switzerland was impacted negatively from the decoupling of the Swiss Franc and the euro, while France suffered from negative consumer sentiment due to security concerns.
The company benefited from the weak euro as sales in North America grew by 21.5pc to €509.4m, but underlying revenue growth declined by 6.7pc.
Shares dropped by 9.7pc at the close yesterday in Dublin while chief executive Owen Killian admitted that the results showed a "short-term weakness in performance", but added that he was confident about the direction of the company. "As anticipated, underlying revenue declined in North America by 6.7pc in the quarter and this trend is expected to continue through Q4," Mr Killian said.
"Notwithstanding the short-term weakness in performance, Aryzta is confident the business model is intact.
"There is increasing evidence of cross-selling through the existing customer centric strategy and this will deliver future earnings growth."
Analysts were underwhelmed by the announcement. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Goodbody analysts Liam Igoe called the results "disappointing".
He added: "We didn't expect to downgrade our earnings forecast and we're now cutting [it] by about 6pc.
"By the start of January of next year we should see some improvement [but] we see a difficult quarter ahead."