The 75% fall in industrial spraying business had a heaviest impact on the results, but agricultural sprayer sales (Exel Industries owns the mainstream brands of Agrifac, Berthoud, and Hardi) were also down by just over 1.0% to €56 million in Q1.
“The restructuring of the agricultural spraying business has begun,” said Exel Industries Group CEO Yves Belegaud. “Incoming orders remain slow, in the context of changing regulations on the use of phytosanitary products in Western Europe, the draft law to open up the agricultural land market in Ukraine and the severe drought in Australia.”
“Nevertheless, better pricing trends for agricultural commodities and the easing of trade tensions between the US and China should enable us to stabilise our sales figures at the previous fiscal year’s level.”
Still affected by the crisis in the European sugar industry, the company’s sugar beet harvesting business fell by the anticipated 10.8% to €15 million. “Our forecasts for the 2019-2020 fiscal year remain conservative but the effects of our cost reduction plan, the announced production shortfall and higher sugar prices should be favourable factors,” added Mr Belegaud.
“We expect 2019-2020 to remain stable and the steps taken to reduce our fixed costs and to improve our margins should enable us to improve profitability.”
Exel Industries recorded a total revenue of €776.7 million in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Some 62% of this was realised in Europe where the company has 40 factory and sales sites.