2009 annual sales fell 18.8 per cent to €375.9, from the previous year, a decline that has contributed to Raisio committing €400m to acquisitions to boost net sales. Quarterly before interest and tax earnings came in at €4.3m, compared to €4.5m for Q1 in 2009.
“In 2010 and 2011 Raisio's main target is to increase its net sales. We are looking for growth through acquisitions in Europe and by expanding into small and growing product categories and new market areas,” said CEO Matti Rihko.
Raisio’s plant stanol-based, cholesterol-lowering end product and ingredient brand, Benecol, increased sales 12 per cent, from €11.6m in Q1 2009, to €13m in Q1 2010.
“The focus is on the new product applications and research evidence of the plant stanol ester, Benecol ingredient, as well as on the development and technology of oat-, soy- and barley-based products,” Raisio said.
Benecol products had shown the best growth in Spain, Greece and Belgium, with sales leveling out in Poland and Great Britain. Recent launches in Thaliand and India “have developed well”, it said.
The Finnish company said its branded products division had performed better than its business-to-business feed operations, which had been compromised by a shortage of rapeseed. Sales of the two divisions were roughly equal.
Healthy snack brands sold on the Finnish market such Elovena snack drinks had increased 10 per cent from the corresponding period. Carlshamn soy yoghurt had captured 20 per cent of the soy-based, non-dairy yoghurt market, and had been introduced into the Ukraine.
The company said Poland and Sweden had become areas of focus for international expansion.