March 10, 2020 / 6:33 AM / 23 days ago

Swiss baker Aryzta's H1 core profits rise, N. America lags behind

March 10 (Reuters) - Swiss-Irish specialty baking company Aryzta reported a rise in its first half core earnings on Tuesday, but said its North American business continued to underperform.

The maker of McDonald's hamburger buns and Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, which announced a series of cost-cutting measures in 2018 and 2019 to reduce debt after a failed acquisition spree, said underlying profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 12% to 169.8 million euros ($192.82 million) in six months ending in January. Its underlying EBITDA in North America fell more than 4% in the same period.

"North America, while reporting sequentially improved revenue, is behind in terms of its EBITDA outcome," said Chief Executive Kevin Toland, adding the company still saw improved performance in North America in the second half.

The company repeated its full-year guidance, but said the outlook did not factor in any coronavirus effect. In October, Aryzta said it expected its 2020 underlying EBITDA to increase compared to the previous year. ($1 = 0.8806 euros) (Reporting by Milla Nissi in Gdansk; additional reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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