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La Lorraine makes strong comeback

La Lorraine Bakery Group recorded a turnover of EUR 885 million and an EBITDA of EUR 112 million in 2021, with a net profit after tax of EUR 25 million, according to the company’s financial statement. The company expects significant growth in 2022, driven by its ambitious investment plans, focusing on advancing its digital transformation and sustainability efforts.

CEO Guido Vanherpe said he was satisfied that 2021 showed a successful comeback after a more difficult year in 2020 due to COVID-19. The results encourage the company to reconnect with its ambitious long-term growth program. In line with this, La Lorraine Bakery Group wants to accelerate in 2022 the investment catch-up it started last year.

Despite a rough start in the first quarter of 2021, the bakery managed to bring up its turnover to pre-pandemic levels.

This growth is attributed to a strong recovery in the hospitality sector in the second half of 2021, the company’s growth strategy in new markets, and the launch of some innovative product categories. La Lorraine Bakery Group achieved a turnover of EUR 885 million in 2021, an increase of 19% compared to 2020 and up 5% compared to 2019. The group EBITDA amounted to EUR 112 million, a growth of 29% compared to 2020, and back to the level of 2019.

“After the COVID dip in 2020, we managed a strong comeback in 2021, despite several lockdowns in the first quarter, an unforeseen commodity shortage, a poor wheat harvest, and inflation in the second half of the year. This allowed us to get back to the level of our 2019 financial results. This is not as high as envisaged without COVID, but I am very pleased that we are so resilient in these disruptive times. That is thanks to the continued efforts of our more than 4,300 employees,” said Guido Vanherpe, CEO of La Lorraine Bakery Group.

Digital transformation & sustainability

The company launched a consumer e-commerce platform for Panos & Tarte à moi, and a new digital business platform for food service in the Benelux. La Lorraine also commits to achieving net-zero for its own emissions by 2039 and to decarbonizing its supply chain by 2050, in line with the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement.

La Lorraine Bakery Group expects a strong increase in turnover in 2022 driven by growth in volumes and significant price increases. The cost price increases for raw materials, packaging materials, energy and wages, which started in the second half of 2021, are expected to continue in 2022. The company expects the negative effects of 2020 and 2021 to be neutralized in 2022.

Forecasts and planning

Strong volume growth is expected in the retail and food service channels within the Frozen Bakery Division, as well as in the still small but rapidly growing segment of e-commerce customers. To this end, additional capacity was built at the Czech production site in the course of 2021.

The company announced an investment program will be rolled out in 2022 and 2023 to support further growth. This includes the construction of a new production hall at the Frozen production site in Erpe-Mere, Belgium. The new site will be commissioned in the last quarter of 2022 with the start-up of two state-of-the-art frozen food production lines. In addition, production capacity will be added at the Polish production site, and work will start on further expanding production and warehouse capacity in Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania.

The Fresh Bakery Division will continue to introduce product and concept innovation in retail. The investment in a new cake line at the Ostend site will bring new growth, innovation opportunities, and increased efficiency. Efforts are being made within the bread segment to strengthen competencies in artisanal bread concepts.

The range of sandwiches within the Panos concept was renewed in 2021. Panos foresees a full recovery from the negative effects of Covid in 2022. It will strongly focus on digitalizing its shop concepts, which should ensure significant growth in sales via e-commerce & delivery partners.

The Milling Division foresees a more difficult year in terms of gross margin due to acute and disruptive price increases for wheat, limited availability of quality wheat due to the poor harvest in 2021, massively increased energy costs, and disruption of the logistics supply chain. Revenue growth in 2022 will be driven by significant price increases combined with limited volume growth. The strategic focus remains on products and innovations with higher added value, such as wholemeal and multigrain flour.

La Lorraine Bakery Group (LLBG) is a 100% Belgian family-owned company active in the milling and bakery sector with a wide range of bakery products, with a staff of over 4,300 employees.

Photo: La Lorraine Bakery Group Facebook