MGP Ingredients forecasts ‘positive turnaround’

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Net loss, Value added

MGP Ingredients has said it expects a significant positive turnaround in the first quarter of fiscal 2010, as it hopes to exit a transition period toward value-added ingredients.

The Kansas-based producer of grain-derived starches, proteins and food-grade alcohols said that fiscal 2009 was a “difficult year”, ​having recorded a huge net loss of $69.1m, compared to an $11.7m net loss during 2008 – which had been the company’s first net loss in a decade. In the fourth quarter of 2009, it recorded a loss of $2.9m, compared to a $17.2m loss for the same period a year ago.

It blamed restructuring costs, as it moved away from commodity-based ingredients toward value-added products such as dietary fiber, protein isolates and concentrates, and textured proteins.

Speaking at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, CEO Tim Newkirk said: "Growing sales of our products that bring added value to customers in the branded packaged goods industry should result in improved and more consistent profitability. There is more science driving our commercialization process today, and there is greater accountability for producing results. These changes in how we now approach the marketplace are strong indicators of how far we have come since the start of a very difficult and challenging fiscal 2009.”

MGP Ingredients has undergone extreme and rapid change over the past year, as the company has divested its fuel grade alcohol business, stopped flour production at its Atchison mill and outsourced its flour supply, secured $25m in credit, sold its Kansas City plant, and cut its staff by 55 percent.

MGP Ingredients’ chairman John Spiers told shareholders: "Fiscal 2009 was the most difficult period in the 68-year history of MGPI. However, our transformation has occurred and our future looks bright. Many difficult actions are behind us now and we look forward to executing our new, more focused strategies for growth."

Looking ahead to fiscal 2010, Newkirk said the company expects improved margins through a better sales mix and better manufacturing productivity.

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