New research revealing the negative effects of HRT has helped ingredients firm Acatris improve its performance over the first half of the year, it said this week.
The Royal Schouten unit saw sales of its SoyLife soy isoflavones climb as well as good growth in US food additives activities. Unit figures were not released by the group.
"The increase in SoyLife is partially a result of scientific research revealing that hormone replacement therapy for women with menopausal complaints increases the risk of cancer. This has influenced women to search for alternatives," said Professor Bert Piest, chief executive of the Royal Schouten group.
However the sales were clearly not enough to lift group performance. Overall Royal Schouten saw sales drop 6 per cent to €168.7 million, with EBIT plummeting 11 per cent over the same period in 2002.
Net profits amounted to €2.86 million, down 4 per cent on last year's first half. But the company called its results 'satisfactory', considering the impact of avian influenza on its Orffa feed additives unit and Schouten Products. While new additives helped Orffa compensate for the outbreak, Schouten continues to suffer from the global conditions affecting value added soybeans.
The group is expecting results to fall behind 2002, citing the current unfavourable market conditions caused by avian flu, although they are likely to be "well above budget 2003". Net profit of €5.6 million is forecast for the year-end, compared to €5.7 million achieved in 2002.
"Results for Acatris are expected to be in line with the results of the first six months. Good prospects in food additives are likely to offset slightly lower demand in the health business," a company release said.