Goodman Fielder to record lower first half profit

Goodman Fielder is hoping that a fall in commodity prices in the second half of 2009 will see the company’s margins recover, but expects profit in the six months to December to fall by up to 15%.

“The company sees little improvement in the underlying earnings in F’09 due to uncertainty around commodity costs and future economic conditions in Australia and New Zealand,” chairman Max Ould told shareholders today.

Today’s annual meeting offered a bit more clarity four months into the 2009-year, with Mr Ould “comfortable'' with analyst's expectations for fiscal 2009 profit between A$191 million ($122 million) and A$204 million.

“Sales are up 12% but we anticipate that our first half profit results will be around 15% lower than the prior corresponding period due to time lags in the recovery of an additional $100 million of increased commodity costs and the impact of increased private label volumes,” he says.

The availability of debt facilities is constraining a company that has relied on acquisitions to feed its bottom line in the past.

The company refinanced a $670 million long-term debt facility, and further finalised a $100 million debt facility “to provide further flexibility for short term capital initiatives.”

The company will offer a further update at the half yearly results, and no revenue or dividend estimations were offered. Both are expected to remain flat.

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