Goodman Fielder has reported a doubling in its statutory net profit after tax for the first half of 2012-13, to $35 million, after booking gains from the sale of its Integro fats and oils division to Graincorp, but normalised earnings fell 4 per cent.
Australia’s largest breadmaker, which is mid-way through a turnaround and faces headwinds from intense discounting by major supermarkets, reported a 9 per cent revenue drop to $1.2 billion and a 17 per cent drop in normalised earnings before interest and tax, to $95.3 million.
The drop was blamed on lower volumes and pricing in the troubled baking division.
On a brighter note Goodman said given it had succeeded in reduced its net debt by 35 per cent to $498 million during the half, the board’s current intention was to resume payment of dividends at the full-year result in June, paying out 50 to 80 per cent of NPAT.
Goodman said its three-year 'Project Renaissance', to achieve $100 million in recurrent savings by 2014-15, was ahead of schedule and was expected to deliver $16 million in savings this financial year, bringing cumulative savings to $56 million by the end of 2012-13.
The company's shares were up 3 per cent, or 2 cents, to 74 cents in early trade.
Chief executive Chris Delaney said retail trading conditions in Australia continued to remain "very challenging, resulting in lower volume and pricing which impacted our first half performance.
"However, the progress we are making, particularly in securing pricing increases in our baking and grocery divisions, is expected to result in improved performance in the second half of the year."
The first half result included a 38 per cent increase in direct marketing expenditure and a $10 million provision for staff incentives.