Q3 sales up, profits down as Natra feels cocoa pricing pain

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Q3 sales up, profits down as Natra feels cocoa pricing pain

Related tags Cocoa solids Natra

Year-on-year Q3 EBITDA profits dipped 9.2% to €5.73m at Spanish cocoa and chocolate and specialist Natra as ongoing cocoa price hikes hit even as quarter revenues rose 5.2% to €89.93m.

Comparing the first nine months on the year with 2013, the firm saw revenues rise 1.2% to €240.71m but EBITDA fell 59.5% from €16.52m to €6.69m.

Industrial, consumer breakdown

Slabs and spreads dominated consumer sales (together about 60%) while its industrial division was led by chocolate coatings which grew 31.2% for the quarter. Cocoa derivatives were worth almost half of the industrial business but saw sales slip 10.2% for the quarter as cocoa powder sales suffered as prices continued to push upwards.

“After the progressive rise of cocoa prices in 2013, in the first half of 2014 the cost of this raw material increased an additional 20%. This upward trend was also seen in other products, like hazelnut, whose increase was especially evident since March due to a heavy frost in the production area of the Black Sea. Cocoa and hazelnut represent around 50% of the procurements of Natra.”

Regional rise

The company said Europe, the Middle East and Africa had been strong in the quarter, as it focused on the sale growth.

“Contrary to what happened in the previous two quarters, between July and September it was the EMEA region that promoted the recovery of sales in both divisions,”​ it said.

“Specifically, this region represented 82.8% of sales of the cocoa and chocolate business in in the third quarter and achieved a growth of 8.7%. This was mainly driven by the entry into force of new manufacturing contracts for other food companies, as well as by the significant growth in the chocolate coatings range of the industrial division, a Europe-based business due to the specific characteristics of the product manufacturing and transportation.”

Sales in North America grew only 1.4% as contract delays hit.



Natraceutical, the European food supplements business it has a controlling stake in (trading as Laboratoires Forté Pharma) saw sales drop from €18.16m in 3 2013 to €17.74m this quarter. EBITDA fell from €2.6m to €2.03m in the same period. It said sales had declined all year and margins had been reduced as it upped advertising spend.

The firm's products include Gélée Royale, DéfensActiv', Chondralgic and Vitalité 4G.

France, Spain, Benelux and the UK are its strongest markets.

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