KILKENNY, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 5, 2003--Commenting, Group Managing Director, John Moloney said, "Glanbia has delivered on its promise to shareholders to strengthen Group operational and financial performance during the year. 2002 profits before tax and exceptional items are up 7.8% to (EUR)71.81m and adjusted earnings per share are up 10% to 17.44c.Year-end Net Debt / EBITDA now stands at 1.22 times and interest cover is up to 4.6 times.
"Continued profit growth in our consumer foods and nutritional ingredients activities boosted operating margins to 3.9%. Glanbia is better focused following restructuring and a progressive exit from non-core businesses.
"Our 2003 priority is on delivering growth in particular in cheese, nutritional ingredients and in consumer foods with a nutritional emphasis. The Board believes that Glanbia will continue to make good progress in 2003."
Glanbia's Consumer Foods businesses hold key market positions principally supplying valued-added products in the UK, Ireland and Continental Europe. This division had a much-improved overall performance in 2002, benefiting from enhanced operational efficiencies in key businesses, new nutritional product introductions and the withdrawal during the year from certain under-performing business activities.
The Food Ingredients Division enjoys strategic market positions as a major dairy processor in Ireland and the USA, supplying cheese, nutritional products and dairy-based ingredients to markets world-wide. A strong volume performance was achieved and good progress continued to be made in the development of the USA whey technology-based nutrition business, which increased sales by 17%, and US cheese volumes also grew strongly. However, weak international dairy markets throughout 2002 impacted Irish operations.
The Agribusiness Division is one of Ireland's leading suppliers to the agricultural sector and plays a key role in underpinning the quality and traceability of Glanbia's Irish dairy products. The division performed well overall in the context of the difficult conditions prevailing in farming in Ireland in 2002.
A net exceptional charge for the period of (EUR)79.92m arises primarily from continued refocusing of operations around group strategy. It includes the closure of the UK consumer meats business and the sale of the UK foodservice distribution operation, details of which were previously announced.
In 2003 Glanbia will focus on achieving growth in line with corporate strategy, particularly in cheese, nutritional ingredients and consumer foods. The Board expects that Glanbia will continue to make satisfactory progress.
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