Low charges not volume growth behind Huhtamaki ‘positive profit warning’

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Vice president North america

Huhtamaki said its decision to reveal for the first time in 2010 a definite forecast for its full year EBIT did not signal a huge jump in its operating profits or a change in the overall economic environment.

The Finland-based company said the announcement this week on the increase in its full year performance had been prompted instead by better-than-expected earnings per share (EPS) prediction that it wished to communicate to the market.

Financial information

Huhtamaki, which produces flexible packaging, films and moulded fibres, said it expected EDIT to reach between €130-135m for 2010. In its results in October, the firm did not provide any EBIT forecast but said it anticipated a jump in EPS.

“Any change in EBIT would not have been sufficient to make us give a positive profit warning,”​ Katariina Hietaranta, head of group communications, told FoodProductionDaily.com.

She added that fourth quarter sales volumes had risen but this did not constitute a step change in the economic environment – particularly in North America.

In October, the company said it had seen strong Asian growth, while adding that European operations were returning to a “solid growth path”.​ North American volumes, however, had remained soft.

“EBIT is more or less in line with expectation but the expected rise in EPS is big and that is the reason for the announcement,”​ Hietaranta said yesterday. “We wanted to ensure that the financial analysts following the company had the correct information.”

In its results in October, the firm did not provide any EBIT forecast but said it anticipated a jump in its previous year’s EPS of €0.74. This week it forecast its EPS before recurring charges would be €0.95 thanks to what it said were “low financial items and income taxes”.

The company also announced a change to its group executive team in the Molded Fiber division – with Olli Koponen promoted from senior vice president to executive vice president. The new member of the Group Executive Team will take up his post on 1 January, 2011.

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