June 4, 2019 / 7:03 AM / 9 months ago

Aryzta issues profit warning as North America sales lag

ZURICH, June 4 (Reuters) - Aryzta on Tuesday cut its full-year profit forecast as continued headwinds in North America buffeted the money-losing Swiss-Irish frozen baked goods company in the fiscal third quarter.

The company, which has posted 1.4 billion euros ($1.58 billion) in losses over the past two years, now expects low-single-digit underlying growth in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, down from the previously targeted mid-to-high-single-digit EBITDA growth rate.

The maker of McDonald’s hamburger buns and Otis Spunkmeyer cookies has swapped out management and announced still-unrealised plans to divest a French business, Picard, as it seeks to arrest losses.

Organic sales in North America fell 3.8% in the three-month period ending April 30, the company said.

“We are addressing the challenges presented to our business, particularly in the North American market where sales stabilisation continues to be challenging whilst profitability has been stabilised,” it said in a statement.

Overall, group sales in third quarter rose 4.5% to 847.9 million euros, with most of the gain coming from currency-related movements. Aryzta shares are up 18% this year, but still down 92% over five years. ($1 = 0.8885 euros) (Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields)

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