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Spain: Juver bases future growth on "health" trend

06/03/2019 - François-Xavier Branthôme - Lire en français
Juver Alimentación, a subsidiary of Italian group Conserve Italia, based in Murcia, ended its 2017/2018 season with an increase in its turnover of close on 1.8%, at EUR 125.31 million, against EUR 123.13 million the previous year. This result indicates a positive evolution of the company's achievements, after a major decrease recorded in 2015/2016, following a 24% drop in sales volumes (-16.5% of the turnover). During that marketing year, Juver had stopped making products that were previously intended for Dafsa, an intermediary supplier of juices and nectars, amongst other products, for the Spanish local supermarket chain Mercadona, during the takeover of the retailer by J. García Carrión. Juver's turnover then dropped from EUR 161.44 million to EUR 134.85 million. The result of the marketing year that ended in June 2018 is all the more remarkable for the fact that it was achieved on a worldwide market that is shrinking (-3%, according to the management report of the company). The increase in turnover can be explained by an 18% growth in results from export operations, which climbed to EUR 17.45 million, whereas turnover dropped by 1% on the domestic market.
The company's EBITDA also recorded a notable increase, from EUR 5.4 million in 2017 to EUR 8.4 million over the past year, "thanks to a better performance of our brands, to an increasing improvement in productivity of the processing plants and to the positive impact of investments in marketing," explained Juver. 
Thanks to a net result that grew from EUR -30 000 in 2017 to EUR 2.36 million last year, Juver "continues, like every year, to reduce its debt, which dropped by more than EUR 4 million this year, thanks to increased profitability, to the decrease in the need for working capital and to improved control of investments in the factory." As for this last point, Juver committed to investments of approximately EUR 4.8 million in 2017 and approximately EUR 2 million in 2018.

In order to achieve these results, Juver decided to invest in the "heavy trends" of the moment, mainly driven by the increasing demand for healthy products that are also high-quality and organically produced. The company's most recent innovations are "Valfrutta BIO" (originally intended for the HOReCa industry, but now available in retail chain stores, packaged in glass bottles in both cases) (see our report 6504, to be published in the near future), "100% Frutísima" (a drink that has a texture similar to a fruit smoothie) and "100% Free" (a fruit drink without any added sugar, preservatives or coloring). 

Juver is the country's second biggest fruit juice manufacturer with its own brand products, with a volume of approximately 200 million liters per year, while it also distributes canned fruit and vegetables as well as tomato sauces. The company has stated that "the projects that have been launched are beginning to bear fruit", and it is counting on positive evolution in the years to come.

On this point, it should be mentioned that last December, Juver Alimentación was the first company of the Spanish food sector to be certified ISO 45001: 2018. This certification focuses on well-being among the company's workforce, and highlights the value of employees being involved in making the work environment healthy and safe. "This certification designates us as a pioneering company in the area of occupational health and safety, and testifies to our commitment to ensure that this kind of attitude permeates our organization through and through," stated Juan Ramón Ugarte, the General Director of Juver Alimentación.

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