The board of international food group Wessanen said this week that 2002 earnings will be lower than previously announced, following poor fourth quarter results at its Tree of Life North America division.
Net earnings before goodwill, amortisation and exceptional income will be around €35-40 million, rather than the former outlook of €50 million, said the company, which makes health and natural foods.
As a result of the North American performance, the Tree of Life NA chief executive has has been replaced by Rick Thorne, a member of the executive board. The CFO has also been replaced and left the company. Also, Mac Zondervan, executive chairman, has decided to resign. Zondervan said he will not step down before a successor has been appointed.
Wessanen remained confident that results over 2003 would exceed the 2002 performance, but it warned that adjustments for the 2002 results could impact the outlook for 2003.
However, it added that the focus on wellness products would continue unchanged, saying that all of its other units were performing at least in line with expectations. Europe in particular has had successful sales. It called the problems of Tree of Life NA 'mainly operational and incidental, and not strategic'.