Danish probiotics maker Chr. Hansen reported flat sales in its food ingredients division for the first six months of the year ended 28 February 2003.
Despite this, the EBITA margin rose from 9.8 per cent to 12.4 per cent, with figures showing DK202 million (€27.2m).
Food ingredients sales grew by 3 per cent in Europe, South America and Asia/Pacific but were down 4 per cent in the US. Cultures reported significant organic growth, driven by the newly introduced Yo-Flex cultures, said Chr. Hansen.
Exchange rates dropped 12 per cent, with a corresponding fall in sales at the unit to DK1,624 million.>p> The company reported that low organic growth reflected "a temporary stagnation in the ingredients market resulting from inventory adjustments and the negative trend of the global economy".
The outlook for the fiscal year 2002/03 has sales forecast at DK3.4-3.5 billion, owing to continued falling exchange rates. But the company reported that the EBITA forecast for the full year remains the same, and is still expected to be higher than the previous year.
Overall, sales at the group decreased by 8 per cent to DK2,191 million, with organic growth of 2 per cent. Chr. Hansen Holding recorded a loss of DK1 million against net income of DK57 million in 2001/02.
Income from ordinary operations before tax was DK107 million compared to DK138 million in 2001/02 as a result of the sharply rising pipeline costs in ALK-Abelló, the allergy vaccines unit, said Chr. Hansen. Sales in ALK-Abelló grew by 4 per cent to DK567 million, with organic growth at 6 per cent.