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GERMANY: Eckes-Granini reports growth, eyes acquisitions

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The Eckes-Granini Group has reported a strong full year set of results on the back of turnover growth in both Germany and France. Delivering the results its chairman also hinted that further acquisitions are on the cards for the company.

The international fruit beverage division of Eckes AG said turnover rose12.6%, to EUR921m in 2007.

"As in previous years, the key growth drivers were the national organisations in Germany (turnover +8%) and in France (turnover +18%)," a statement said.

"Thanks to the excellent performance of our strategic brands, we succeeded in raising both turnover and volume sales while achieving respectable earnings", said Thomas Hinderer, chairman of the executive board.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by 3.7% to EUR38.3m, despite the influence of significantly higher raw material prices and sustained marketing investments.

"Volume sales in the European market for fruit beverages decreased slightly in 2007, while value sales increased. These opposing trends were the result of substantial consumer price rises caused by increased raw material costs accompanied by above-average growth in sales of higher priced chilled fruit beverages," the statement said.

The Eckes-Granini Group recorded a 6% increase in volume sales in its core business for fruit beverages to 1,035m litres. This gain is attributable primarily to the performance of its strategic brands, led above all by the international brand granini (+6%), Joker in France (+12%) and Marli in Finland (+20%).

The company said: "The group continued to pursue its consistent European expansion strategy. With the acquisition of Brämhults, a Swedish premium fruit juice producer through the newly founded Eckes-Granini Scandinavia company, Eckes-Granini significantly strengthened its presence in Scandinavian markets."

It added: "The fruit beverage market is expected to show stronger value sales growth despite a slight drop in volume sales again in 2008. The management foresees no improvement in the raw material cost situation. The trend in favour of convenient products - and thus the demand for PET containers - is also likely to continue."

Eckes-Granini is in the process of introducing a new smoothie product concept with two flavours under the umbrella of the international premium brand granini in several European countries.

"We will continue to pursue this goal [growth in value] through substantial investments in our brands in 2008", said Hinderer, adding that strategic growth is to be achieved both organically and through acquisitions and strategic partnerships. "We have the required liquid resources and are financially well equipped to meet the challenges of the future."


Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

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