Goodman Fielder's attention to cutting costs and improving productivity in
2001-02 allowed the food group to make it through a year of asset sales,
restructuring, and rises in the cost of key raw materials with earnings up
Net profit in the 12 months to June 30 tallied $162.4 million, against a
$78.3 million loss a year ago. But both numbers were affected by one-off items
such as writedowns or divestments, making the increase in operating profit to
$132.4 million from $118 million a more accurate reflection of the group's
Goodman Fielder made good on its promise to improve return on funds employed
to 15 per cent, up 3.8 points for 2001-02, hitting the target a year earlier
than forecast. ``We feel this is a creditable result in what has been an
important transition year," said chief executive Tom Park.
``We've delivered against all the core targets we've identified for the year.
Certainly our profit after tax up 12.2 per cent is above market
Mr Park said the group would use its lowly geared balance sheet for
acquisitions, reinvesting in core brands, or some capital return to shareholders
similar to its current $200 million buyback. The board will consider options in
the next few months as proceeds from the $200 million milling business sale to
Graincorp/Cargill are banked.
Cuts to overheads and more efficient work processes in 2001-02 were worth $51
million, well ahead of a target for $30 million. The group had a 4.6 per cent
rise in earnings before interest and tax to $254.2 million.
The savings, and a decision to raise bread prices, mitigated a 13 per cent
rise in wheat costs and a 23 per cent hike in oil.
Mr Park said the divestment of assets, in particular the company's milling
and ingredients businesses, would leave net profit lower in 2002-03. However,
EBIT for the company's existing core businesses was likely to improve at a
similar rate to the second half's 4 per cent.
Full year sales eased 3.4 per cent to $2.96 billion with modest underlying
growth further eroded by asset sales and tough international markets. Goodman
Fielder declared a 50 per cent-franked final dividend of 4c a share, payable
October 4. The full-year payout was 7.5c. The share price closed up 2c at $1.66.