SWITZERLAND, Basel. The Bell Food Group's sales revenue improved by CHF 327.6 mill. to CHF 2.1 bn. in the first half of 2018. At 268.3 mill. kg, sales volume is up by 19.9% on the prior-year period.
EBITDA improved by CHF 6 mill. following the acquisition of Hügli. EBIT declined by CHF 10.2 mill. to CHF 55.2 mill., primarily because growth was posted for product ranges offering smaller margins in Switzerland and for the poultry business of Bell International.
At CHF 136.6 mill., EBITDA for the first half of 2018 was CHF 6.6 mill. higher than in 2017. Following the acquisitions, depreciation and amortisation increased by a total of CHF 16.8 mill., of which CHF 13.4 mill. relates to the integration of Hügli.
The low euro exchange rate resulted in a currency loss of CHF 1.4 mill. in the first half of 2018, compared to a currency gain of CHF 1.0 mill. in the prior-year period. At CHF 32.5 mill., the profit after tax and non-controlling interests for the first half was CHF 7.0 mill. less than in the previous year.
Sales revenue improved by CHF 32.8 mill. or 3.4% to CHF 995.5 mill. Sales volume grew by 1.3% to 63.8 mill. kg.
Sales volume increased by 10.0% to 37.3 mill. kg with targeted sales promotion measures. Sales revenue improved by CHF 38.1 mill. (+17.7%) to CHF 253.1 mill.
Sales volume rose by 2.2 mill. kg to 80.8 mill. kg, while sales revenue improved by CHF 36.1 mill. or 12.3% to CHF 328.9 mill. The business units in France, Poland and Hungary saw positive growth in the first half of 2018 and EBIT also improved year-on-year.
The poultry business in Austria, however, lagged behind expectations. The gross profit margin shrank because of rising personnel expenses and high feed prices, which could only be passed on to customers in part and with some delay.
The Bell Food Group continued its growth strategy in the high-margin and profitable Convenience business segment with the acquisitions of Hügli and Sylvain & CO on 1st January 2018. These acquisitions made a substantial contribution to the increase in sales volume by 71.0% to 91.7 mill. kg in the first half of 2018. At CHF 523.2 mill., sales revenue was up CHF 221.2 mill. (+73.2%) on the previous year.