Falling exchange rates - by 11 per cent - during the 2002/2003 year knocked overall revenue for the group, which dropped by 7 per cent to DKK 4,336 million.
Turning to the ingredients sector, operating profit for the year managed to fight back - helped by a cut in sales, marketing and administration costs and possibly at the cost of revenue growth - turning in a 6 per cent rise on the previous year to DKK371m, up from DKK349m in 2001/2002.
Revenue for the sector during the year dropped by 9 per cent, down from DKK3,681m in 2001/02 to DKK3,345m in 2002/03.
Similar to other ingredients companies, Chr Hansen, initially optimistic about a turn around in performance during the year, 'saw that the expected market improvement would fail to materialise for a major part of the year, but it was encouraging to see that the trend improved towards the end of the year,' Erik Sorensen, CEO of the Danish ingredients company said in a recent statement.
Overall organic growth for the group for the year came in at 2 per cent, composed of 4 per cent in Europe, South America and Asia/Pacific/Middle East and a 1 per cent fall in North America. But a positive slant came from the combined organic growth rate in the fourth quarter of 6 per cent, against the expected rate of 3 per cent.
'Management still believes that the low organic growth reflected stagnation in the ingredients market resulting from inventory adjustments and the negative trend of the global economy,' said the company last week.
'Furthermore, revenue was affected by low raw material prices for products such as animal rennet enzymes and natural colours, which had an adverse effect on selling prices,' the company added.
Operating profit for the group came in at DKK269m, 11 per cent lower than 2001/2002, but earnings per share kept stable at DKK4.9, a wisp down from DKK4.8 in 2001/2002.