Food ingredients maker Chr Hansen has posted first-quarter organic revenue growth well above forecasts, helped by a rebound in sales of probiotics used by people to support the immune system.
Its shares, which were down some 12% over the past year before the market opened, rose as much as 6.5% in early trade on the Copenhagen stock exchange.
Organic Sales Growth
Denmark's Chr. Hansen, which counts some of the world's largest food manufacturers among its customers, posted organic sales growth of 9% for the first quarter in its 2021/2022 financial year, above an estimate of 4.4% growth in a poll compiled by the company.
"We were positively surprised by our human health business," chief financial officer Lise Skaarup Mortensen told Reuters, referring to the firm's portfolio of probiotics which are live bacteria used in yoghurt and dietary supplements.
She said the sales had especially been boosted by the reopening of physical stores, which had been shut due to the coronavirus, in mature markets like Italy.
First-quarter sales were also higher due to the timing of orders delayed from the fourth quarter, when sales disappointed. The company, which sells enzymes and bacteria used in products like dairy, dietary supplements and wine, still forecasts 5-8% organic growth and 27-28% EBIT margin for the full year.
'Encouraging Start To The Year'
“The encouraging start to the year with organic growth of 9% and progress across all business areas and strategic initiatives underlines the strength of our 2025 strategy differentiating us as a bioscience company focused on microbial and fermentation technology platforms," commented CEO Mauricio Graber.
"Food Cultures & Enzymes continued its strong momentum in the first quarter, while Health & Nutrition delivered a strong rebound following a Q4 that fell short of expectations. EBIT b.s.i. developed favorably at 7% growth, despite the impact from inflation and a general increase in activities as we reconnected with customers. The EBIT margin b.s.i. was down compared to last year due to the full inclusion of the HMO activities. We maintain our outlook for the full year.”