Bakery firm Aryzta is "well positioned to recover" next year, its chief executive has said, following a full-year period that saw the business post a 11.6% drop in organic revenue, and a 33% decline in underlying EBITDA.
All of the group's territories saw a decline in the full-year period, with Europe seeing organic revenue down 12.7%, North America down 11.8% and Rest of World falling by 3.5%.
Due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent easing of lockdown 'at varying speeds' in the company's various markets, its management took 'decisive action to maximise cash and reduce costs', which has given it a liquidity position of €424 million at year-end.
"Up until 15 March trading patterns were in line with previous guidance," Toland said. "However, when the COVID-19 consequences became visible, we took decisive action to protect the business and our cash resources.
"This included pausing production in bakeries to reduce capacity in line with demand, furloughing headcount, availing of government relief initiatives, suspending capital expenditure and reducing discretionary cost where possible. As a result we finished the year with a strong overall liquidity position."
The business has also seen a moderate improvement in trading, with revenue down 18% in July, compared to the same period last year – this compares to a 23% year-on-year decline in June, a 36% year-on-year decline in May, and a 49% year-on-year decline in April.
The disposal of its 43.1% stake in French retailer Picard has also enabled the business to 'refocus' its portfolio on its core B2B bakery business.
"While we expect the recovery to be bumpy in the coming months, we believe that Aryzta is well-positioned to recover and compete as economies stabilise and return to growth," Toland added. "I am immensely proud of the tremendous efforts of our people in supporting our customers and suppliers throughout this period.”
The group's Project Renew streamlining programme has delivered €92 million worth of savings since it was launched, the company added, however many of the projects included therein were postponed this year due to COVID-19.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine