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Cosun announces 20% increase in operating profit

3 April 2001

Cosun, a manufacturer of natural food ingredients, realised a consolidated net turnover for 2000 of NLG 2,423 million (1999: NLG 2,238 million). Operating profit, boosted by the excellent sugar beet campaign, increased by 20% to NLG 121 million (1999: NLG 101 million). Net profit amounted to NLG 63.3 million (1999: NLG 48.5 million). The food ingredients division of Döhler was acquired in 2000 and the mushroom substrate company Theeuwen, the spice company Jadico and the interest in the Romanian sugar factory Ludus were sold during the year.


Performance
Turnover of single ingredients (sugar, inulin and fructose) was stable. A modest decline in sugar turnover was almost made up for in full by firmer turnover of inulin and fructose. The effect on Suiker Unie’s results of the good campaign, higher prices on the world market and improved results on the international sugar activities was moderated by the sharp increase in energy costs, a quota reduction and a surcharge on the 1999 production.

 

Sensus, the inulin and fructose manufacturer, recorded an improvement in its results. Interest in inulin is continuing to increase strongly. In response to the demand for innovative, healthy and appetising products, the company is concentrating further on the development of new inulin applications for functional foods and nutraceuticals.


Turnover of customer-specific ingredients was favourable. In the Fine bakery segment (Unifine Döhler) turnover more than trebled, principally on account of the acquisition of Döhler Food Ingredients. In Foodservice & snacks (Unifine), turnover was also higher. Unifine increased its share in the growth market for chilled meals and meal components. Substantial investments were made in 2000 in product development and marketing & sales and existing activities were restructured. As a consequence, results could not keep pace with the increase in turnover. In the Fruit & vegetable applications market (SVZ), Cosun again had an excellent year. SVZ operated with success on the growth market for compounds, which it develops in close cooperation with its customers. The purchase of a fruit processing factory in the United States strengthened Cosun’s position on the American fruit applications market.


The participating interests improved their results in comparison with 1999. Advanta recovered somewhat from its disappointing performance in the previous year. The results of Aviko and Nedalco were lower.
 

Prospects
Cosun will continue to focus on improving the profitability of its core activities. The customer-specific food ingredients market remains promising. Demand for fructose and inulin will also develop positively. Cosun expects a further increase in results in this segment. The profitability of the sugar activities will be affected by a quota reduction. On balance, Cosun expects the results for 2001 to match those for 2000.
 

In contrast to previous years, the annual figures have not yet been officially adopted by the cooperative's Members' Council. On account of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, the Annual General Meeting has been postponed until the end of May. The annual report and accounts for 2000 will be officially submitted for approval at that meeting.