Finland's Raisio has said that it is increasing its focus on plant-based products, as the Benecol maker posted a 2.8% increase in net sales in the first half of its financial year.
Raisio's net sales for the period stood at €112.6 million, up from €109.5 million a year earlier. EBIT was €12.2 million, accounting for 10.9% of net sales.
Announcing its results, the group's president and CEO, Pekka Kuusniemi, said that the "defined theme" for 2019 is to ensure the growth and profitability of the business, as well as make investments that embolden its new, customer-focused organisational structure.
Kuusniemi said that construction work on a production plant specialising in the "development and production of plant-based value-added products" commenced in July, following the review period. Some €45 million will be invested in the facility, which will be developed in the company's carbon-neutral industrial area in Raisio.
"With the completion of one of the largest investment projects in the Finnish food industry of recent years, Raisio’s ability to launch innovative, plant-based products is taken to the next level," he added.
The group anticipates that the first products to be developed in the new facility will be available in stores during 2021.
In terms of Raisio's product divisions, its Healthy Food Unit posted net sales of €68.9 million, with EBIT of €8.5 million, while its Healthy Ingredients Unit posted net sales of €53.6 million, and EBIT of €5.3 million.
Commenting on the performance of the two divisions, Kuusniemi said, "Our product price increases due to the sharp rise in grain prices were completed in Q2. We were also able to raise the selling prices of Benecol products, as the cost of raw material, sterol, and manufacturing overheads had been rising for some time. Raisioaqua had a strong start to the new fish feed season and, in line with our strategy, we got market openings in Sweden and Poland."
The group said that its outlook for the rest of the year remains unchanged, with Raisio anticipating net sales to grow, year-on-year and comparable EBIT to account for more than 10% of net sales.
'Raisio will continue its investments in the brands, R&D and the company’s own production in its most important product categories,' it said.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.