Bitter pill not a cure-all for Aryzta


Aryzta CEO Kevin Toland
Aryzta CEO Kevin Toland

It is, as one analyst put it yesterday, a bitter pill for shareholders to swallow. Aryzta has been in intensive care for months. And while chief executive Kevin Toland said yesterday that the medicine is working, it appears that the group’s revitalisation remains elusive.

Meanwhile, the erosion of shareholder value has been excruciating. Anyone who had clung on this long in the hopes of seeing their investment recover now faces the prospect of pumping fresh money into Aryzta, or seeing their shareholdings pummelled.

One analyst encapsulated the disbelief at Aryzta’s spectacular decline.

“This used to be a €600m EBITDA business and it’s now a €300m EBITDA business,” the analyst told CEO Kevin Toland. “I would still like to have your view if that’s just usual operational problems that you’re facing or, whether in hindsight, I mean this never has really been a €600m business?”

Mr Toland said Aryzta is “terrific”, but wouldn’t be drawn on the past.

Now Aryzta has to forge ahead with its deleveraging plan, which includes its ‘Project Renew’.

That involves initiatives designed to generate annual cost savings of €90m by 2021. But the programme will also cost Aryzta €150m over the next three years.

Additionally, it faces the prospect of higher input costs, with wheat prices rising in Europe after a summer heatwave.

Analysis

Irish Independent

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