The Bell Group is on track in 2013

15.08.2013, Ad hoc release pursuant to Art. 53 LR

Bell, Switzerland's largest meat processing company, remains on course in a demanding market environment. Sales revenue improved by 2.9 percent to CHF 1.27 billion, while the first-half profit contracted by CHF 0.5 million to CHF 24.5 million.

The Bell Group remains on course in the 2013 financial year. At around 107,600 tonnes, sales volumes were stable while sales at CHF 1.27 billion were up 2.9 percent from the prior-year period. This development is primarily price-driven and explained by the prices for raw materials, which are higher on average. At CHF 399 million, the gross profit was CHF 2 million less than in the same period last year. At CHF 78.9 million, the operating result (EBITDA) was on a par with the previous year. The net profit of CHF 24.5 million is CHF 0.5 million less than for the prior-year period.

Bell Switzerland turns in a solid performance

Sales for Bell Switzerland improved by 3.5 percent to CHF 893.4 million. At around 60,800 tonnes, sales volumes were similar to the previous year. Raw material prices in Switzerland were stable for a long while, but prices have now increased noticeably here, too. Increases in raw material prices of up to 30 percent are putting serious pressure on margins. The situation was made worse by the lacklustre barbecue season in view of the bad weather in the first half of the year. This specifically affected the result for the Charcuterie business unit, where sales were down on the previous year by 13,000 tonnes or 1.7 percent. Sales for the Poultry business unit, however, improved by 680 tonnes (+4.4 %).

Bell Switzerland was reorganised with effect from 1 April 2013. The four business units Fresh Meat, Poultry, Charcuterie and Seafood now focus exclusively on production, including the procurement of the raw materials (live cattle, meat, poultry and fish). The Procurement/SCM and Sales/Marketing business units were separated from the previous divisions and established as new independent units. These organisational changes focus on the exploitation of synergy potential to improve the efficiency of all business processes.

Bell Germany boasts optimised sales synergies

Sales for Bell Germany (incl. the Spanish operation) dropped by 1.0 percent to CHF 234.5 million. At almost 30,600 tonnes, sales volumes were down 7.2 percent from the prior-year period. The total market has sunk between 3 to 6 percent depending on the product group during the same period. Sales for air-dried ham improved in spite of the weak asparagus season caused by the bad weather. Sales for the other product groups scalded and cured sausages and convenience products were below the previous year, not only because of the bad weather but also because of the restructuring of our product ranges that started last year and continued in 2013.

The Bell Group in Germany has merged its business activities under the umbrella of Bell Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG in Seevetal from 1 September 2012. The administrative office in Bochum was closed in March 2013 and all central services have now been amalgamated in Seevetal.

Bell Eastern Europe/Benelux is developing well

At CHF 92.3 million, sales for Bell Eastern Europe/Benelux improved 5.6 percent on the previous year. Almost 10,000 tonnes in total were sold. The Bell plant in Poland has excellent capacity utilisation and can look back on a positive first half. The plant in Hungary is still battling with a weak economy. However, an improvement in business is in sight. We will soon launch a variety of new products to develop our product ranges. The Novak butcher branch shops are continuing to do very well. There are 101 Novak branch shops in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. Bell Benelux is doing increasingly well and is currently implementing a new sales strategy focusing on products manufactured by other Group companies and on strategic partnerships.

Bell France grows stronger with a new brand strategy

Sales of the cured sausage and ham ranges in France trended very positively in the first half and improved by 3.0 percent to around 6,200 tonnes. Sales rose by 7.7 percent to CHF 50.1 million.A brand strategy was developed for Bell France to create a homogeneous and all-encompassing brand identity. The brand articles produced in France will in future all be sold under the "Môssieur Polette" brand. The market reacted positively to the new strategy. Bell France added a number of new listings and strengthened its position in the French market.

Outlook

Bell made good operational progress abroad in the first half of the year. The organisational measures implemented in the divisions are bearing fruit and will demonstrate their effect in the course of the second half of 2013. In the second half of the year, Bell will consistently continue to exploit the Group-wide potential for synergies in order to build a firm foundation for continued profitable growth. If the market environment remains stable, Bell expects the international business to improve further. Although business performance in Switzerland is strongly dependent on future trends for raw material prices, Bell expects the operating result for the year 2013 as a whole to be in line with the previous year.

Do you have any questions?

Head of Corporate Marketing / Communication

Davide Elia

+41 58 326 3030 media@bellfoodgroup.com

Project Manager Corporate Communication

Fabian Vetsch

+41 58 326 3030 media@bellfoodgroup.com