RAR Group strengthens strategic businesses to improve competitiveness and operating profitability

In 2015 the RAR Group’s consolidated net sales totalled 860 million euros, while free operating cash flow (EBITDA) totalled approximately 40 million euros. The Group posted operating results of 12 million euros, underpinned by the performances of Colep Europe and Vitacress.

The net result for the year was a loss of approximately 8 million euros and results attributable to parent company shareholders were negative at 6.7 million euros.

Consolidated financial debt was lower by more than 30 million euros.

Changes to the RAR Group's portfolio in 2015 enabled a better allocation of capital and the strengthening of the Group’s more strategic businesses. The acquisition by Colep of the remaining 49% of its Brazilian operation, the sale of 100% of Imperial, the disposal of the 50% holding in GeoStar and the sale of the Vitacress tomato operation in the UK all contributed to strengthening the Group’s solidity.

The strategy followed in recent years has led to the progressive sustainment and reinforcement of levels of operating profitability and to the reduction of the RAR Group’s level of debt. Despite the economic context, 2015 saw the continuation of this process.

Reducing liabilities and strengthening the Group’s strategic businesses 
had a good year in its European operation with the packaging division achieving record results and the consumer products division growing and winning new contracts with multinational companies, which will continue to have positive effects in the coming years. Turnover in Brazil was affected by a sharp reduction in consumption, reflecting the deep recession that the country is experiencing. Following the acquisition of 100% of the share capital of the Brazilian companies, the programme to integrate their manufacturing operations in a similar model to that used elsewhere in Colep was accelerated. The restructuring process that has been implemented was designed to adapt the company’s structure to the new market situation, increase operating efficiency and mitigate the difficulties resulting from an inflexible labour market, supply chain unreliability and the high complexity of the tax system. Colep’s consolidated sales totalled 466 million euros, presaging sustained growth in turnover and results in the coming years, and accompanying the strengthening of its position in the various markets in which it operates.

Vitacress achieved a good performance on a comparable basis, implementing cost reduction programmes and concentrating the production of potted herbs at a single site. The company reinforced its position in the fresh herbs market in the UK, where it has a very significant presence in major retail chains. Even under difficult market conditions, the company showed a strong performance and ended 2015 with a turnover of 136 million pounds (185 million euros).

RAR Açúcar saw an improvement in its profitability despite the penalties arising from the termination of sugar cane purchase contracts significantly affecting results. The resumption of some stability in raw materials, together with the reduction in energy costs and a hoped for increase in sales prices, makes it possible to forecast improved performance in the coming year. Turnover remained almost unchanged from the previous year at around 70 million euros. The company remains focused on increasing its operating margin, and on the continuous control of costs and operational optimisation.

RAR Imobiliária experienced some signs of recovery in the sector, which were reflected in a significant increase in its sales and leases in the Edifício do Parque development and other assets. In addition, the first steps were taken for the launch of a new development in Paço do Lumiar in Lisbon, a gated condominium designed by the architect Souto Moura. Benefiting from this climate, RAR Imobiliária posted a much higher activity level than last year.

Acembex retained its leading position in the import of cereals, expanding its business to include supplying major European pet food operators with raw materials from Portugal and other origins. In 2015 the company maintained its leading position in the areas where it operates, and was the biggest importer of cereals and cereal derivatives in Portugal, with a market share of 19% in a market of around 4 million tons. It ended the year with a turnover of 150 million euros.