News of the sale came in the week the business posted its half-year results, when Killian admitted revenue development had been “erratic” in the past 12 months and would continue to be for a further 18 months.
The results were issued on Monday (March 14), and the company's share price fell more than 20% in three days.
On Wednesday (March 16), Aryzta announced Killian had sold 427,250 shares in the business – then worth around CHF17m ($17m) - on March 14 and 15. Following the sale, he continues to hold 216,530 shares, and has been awarded 410,000 share options.
Killian issued a statement in which he expressed his regret at “having to sell down shares at this time”.
Weakness in share price
“This decision was triggered by the weakness in the share price impacting the collateral value of the share,” continued the statement. “It is not indicative of my confidence in, or commitment to, Aryzta AG and the achievement of its goals.”
Although the Zurich-based manufacturer - which focuses on frozen and par-baked bakery products – has reported underlying growth in its Food Europe and Rest of World divisions, revenue from its Food North America division fell 4% in the half-year.
The slump was a result of underperformance in the quick-serve restaurant market and the loss of supply chain contracts. Aryzta said the division had also been impacted by higher ingredient, labor and freight costs.
Developing branded business
The company this week said developing its branded position remained a “key part of the North American marketing strategy in the periods ahead,” adding that market response to the relaunch of La Brea Bakery and Otis Spunkmeyer portfolios had been “encouraging.”
The Aryzta share price fell about 12% on the day the shares were sold, on both its primary listing on the SIX Swiss Exchange and secondary listing on the ISE Irish Exchange.