RAR Group consolidates growth in 2018

In a year in which the world economy showed positive signs with, however, increasing levels of volatility – of which the trade war between major blocs and Brexit are examples – the Group’s performance maintained the progressive improvement in its economic and financial achievements, as demonstrated by the growth of its results.

This improvement in the RAR Group’s performance was largely underpinned by the Vitacress, RAR Imobiliária and Acembex businesses (which achieved considerable progress compared with previous years), while Colep continuing to be the Group’s most significant company.

Colep had a year of some ups and downs as a result of significant reductions in the efficiency of the Contract Manufacturing operations of its Liquids&Creams segment following the transfer of the volumes produced at the Zülpich plant in Germany (meanwhile sold) to Colep Poland and to the Bad Schmiedeberg unit, also in Germany. In the Aerosol Filling segment in Europe, sales performed well, though operations did not achieve the hoped-for efficiency levels. The Packaging division faced a challenging year due to aggressive competition from Eastern European operators in the aerosols segment, although it benefited from a more favourable climate for paint and food products packaging. In the Healthcare area, the expected turnaround was completed, taking operating profitability into positive territory.

Vitacress continued its positive performance – completing a five-year cycle of consecutive growth of profitability– with EBITDA growing by 9% and the company retaining its leadership position in the fresh herbs sector in the UK and in the salads sector in Portugal. The investments made to date have been bearing fruit, with positive impacts on efficiency and quality. The strengthening of the partnership with the Gipmans Group in the Netherlands holds out the prospect of good growth in the fresh herbs segment in Central Europe.

In a favourable economic climate, RAR Imobiliária performed very positively, selling most of the properties it was previously letting. Construction began on the “Quinta do Paço Lumiar” project in Lisbon, with around 60% of its townhouses sold to date. In Matosinhos, the company also took the first pre-sale steps in a new project next to the “Edifício do Parque” development, to be pursued in 2019.

RAR Açúcar experienced a very turbulent first year after the ending of quotas, with the leading European operators causing a strong depression in the price of sugar in the European Union market resulting from the low price in the world market, generating significant losses for all operators. Although it was not possible to escape this negative contagion, several projects were started with external consultants with a view to further optimising operations, in order to position the company better in this very demanding market.

In 2018, Acembex was the biggest Portuguese importer of cereals and cereal derivatives, with a market share of 22% in a market of around 4 million tons. It also sought to expand to other geographical regions, especially in raw materials for pet food and organic cereals, sectors in which Acembex has been deepening its knowledge.
For this year, the RAR Group expects Colep to regain its previous levels of efficiency as a result of various projects in progress and the release of value that is expected from them. At Vitacress also, despite the uncertainties of Brexit, good progress is expected as a result of the major effort invested in operations and quality, which has been reflected in continuous growth over the last five years.
The RAR Group will continue to act in a prudent manner with a view to the long-term in a world context of enormous tensions and volatility, but in which opportunities will be there to be seized by those who know how to take advantage of them.