High purity stevia volume sales at PureCircle have increased by more than 20% year-on-year, PureCircle reported in a pre-close update for the second half of its financial year.
The world’s largest producer and marketer of high purity stevia also said there had been triple digit growth in volumes of proprietary products, including its Natural Flavor range and new Natural Sweeteners range. It revealed the figures in a statement based on its prior half year performance to June 30.
However, the company said many large beverage firms were still exhausting supplies of high purity stevia, which they had pre-bought before regulatory approval had been granted for sweetener in Europe. As a result, the full growth from the EU market opening up had not yet been felt.
Second half sales had been double those of the first half of 2012, the company revealed, but had been lower than wished as a number of projects had been delayed. Chief financial officer William Mitchell told FoodNavigator that these delays had still not materially affected its full year financial forecast.
“A number of launches have been delayed due to ordinary operational points for our customers,” said Mitchell. “[For example] one customer had planned further product launches, but needed to use up the packaging of old formulation first.”
However, PureCircle said its Natural Flavour and Natural Sweeteners ranges were rapidly winning market share and their margin percentages were strong. Going forward it said the improved mix of products would generate large volumes and a much improved base business with better use of production capacity.
“We have an ongoing R&D (research and development) programme,” said Mitchell. “The pace of delivery of new solutions is not slowing.”
Infrastructure in place
He confirmed the $300m PureCircle has already invested in processing and supply chain services ensured it had sufficient capacity to meet rising demand. “All the infrastructure is in place for a mass volume business.” He added that usage of its stevia ranges by beverage companies was “increasing, and increasing strongly”.
The firm said almost $40m (€32.6m) or 85% of sales in 2012 were represented by customer orders and contracts that did not exist three years ago. That showed the diversification of its customer base since 2009, it said.
“The important carbonated soft drink category is beginning to adapt high purity stevia in global mega brands,” said PureCircle chief executive Magomet Malsagov. “We have diversified our product portfolio and grown our customer base substantially and each month we get closer to the point where the real size of the market we are building will be evident in our reported sales.”
PureCircle said it was comfortable with market consensus for sales levels in its full year results for 2013.