Dutch food group CSM, the world’s largest bakery products supplier, said it plans to restructure or divest part of its European bakery supplies business which was badly hit by the economic downturn in 2011, and warned of a tough year ahead.
The Dutch group, which reported a surprise net loss for 2011 on Tuesday, said it may divest as much as 30 per cent of its European unit this year.
“The growing uncertainty in the euro zone, and its consequences for consumers, accelerated the decline in volumes sold throughout 2011,” CSM said in a statement.
CSM said it had made an impairment charge of 249 million euros on the value of its European bakery business, to reflect changes in the marketplace, including the shift from small independent bakeries to larger in-store bakeries.
The group reported a full-year net loss of 174.3 million euros, after a net profit of 99.3 million euros in 2010. Analysts had forecast a net profit of 57 million euros for 2011.
The Dutch group also reported 2011 earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) and before exceptional items of 150.8 million euros.