All About Arla – ESM Meets Arla Chief Executive Peder Tuborgh
Danish dairy cooperative Arla believes that its collaborative approach should enable it to bounce back even stronger after the pandemic subsides. Stephen Wynne-Jones spoke to its chief executive, Peder Tuborgh. This article also appeared in ESM Issue 3 2021.
Out of every adversity comes an opportunity, and while 2020 was ‘the most challenging crisis that Arla has ever operated in’ – as the Danish dairy giant put it in a recent statement – its cooperative-led model has positioned it for a strong return to form once the pandemic subsides.
The past year has really been a double-edged tale for the Viby-based business, as its branded sales division – led by brands such as Lurpak, Arla and Puck – grew by 7.7%. At the same time, its extensive foodservice operations had a disastrous year, due to the prolonged closure of the HoReCa channel. After an initial 45% drop in revenue in the spring of 2020, the business recovered, but with a 12% decline for the year overall.
As for the net result of such disruption on the group’s performance? Total group revenue stood at €10.6 billion in 2020 – pretty much on a par with the previous year (€10.5 billion). EBITDA was €909 million, up from €837 million in 2019 – fitting, therefore, that the title of the group’s recent annual report was Creating Value in a Year like No Other.
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