Spain's Ebro Foods has reported a 10.6% growth in first-quarter net profit, to €52.8 million, as lockdowns and restrictions on restaurant opening hours pushed more people to eat at home.
The owner of brands such as Tilda rice and Garofalo pasta said profit reached €52.8 million ($63.72 million), up from €47.8 million a year earlier, also helped by the sale of its Canadian pasta brand Catelli for C$165 million ($133 million).
Sales dropped 8.7% over the same period to €697.2 million, which Ebro attributed to the distorting effects of panic buying during the early days of the pandemic last year.
EBITDA-A was down 2% to €94.1 million, while the EBITDA-A margin grew by 90 bp to 13.5%.
The company, which describes itself as the world's second-biggest vendor of packaged rice, had to rearrange its production last year to meet unusually high peaks in demand for rice and pasta.
Recently, the company agreed to sell its Ronzoni dry pasta business in the USA to 8th Avenue Foods & Provisions Inc through its US subsidiary, Riviana Foods.
Despite the solid quarterly profit, Ebro pointed to higher freight and raw-material costs, a flagging economy, and increased competition among suppliers as potential difficulties in the coming year.
The company described its first-quarter sales performance as 'very positive', attributing it to the good performance of its brands, which remained strong in all their markets.
After putting behind us the most difficult moments of the pandemic, consumer interest in our higher value-added products is starting to pick up again, Ebro Foods noted.