Russian dairy giant Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods (WBD) has announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2003. The figures show steady growth in the dairy market, along with a strong performance in the juice sector.
During the first quarter of 2003, WBD's sales increased by 13.4 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2002. Gross profit increased by 16.3 per cent, with gross margins rising to 29.3 per cent compared to 28.6 per cent last year.
Net income decreased by 26 per cent, primarily due to the combined effect of a temporary slowdown in juice sales growth as well as costs associated with expansion in the dairy segment.
Sales in Wimm-Bill-Dann's dairy segment in the first quarter increased by 16.7 per cent from US$136.2 million (€118m) in 2002 to US$159 million in 2003. Gross margins in the dairy sector grew to 26.7 per cent from 25.4 per cent last year due to a 5 per cent drop in the cost of raw milk compared to last year, favorable price increases for sterilised milk and a higher share of value-added products in the product portfolio.
Sales in Wimm-Bill-Dann's juice segment increased by 6 per cent from US$61.2 million in the first quarter of 2002 to US$64.9 million in the first quarter of 2003. Overall, Wimm-Bill-Dann's sales in the first three months of 2003 amounted to $223.9 million, compared to $197.4 million during the same period last year. Commenting on the announcement, Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods chief executive Sergei Plastinin said: "The first three months of this year saw continued growth in sales and improvement in gross margins.
"Over recent months, we have developed and launched a number of programmes such as better supply chain management, newly designed IT infrastructure and investment in technology and new equipment to enhance operational cycle and improve our cost structure. We are also in the process of improving our brand and product portfolio, launching new products and increasing the efficiency of our distribution and sales channels."