Shepparton News

Freedom rebound

- By Darren Linton

Freedom Foods Group Limited ended a difficult year with a positive turnaround in its business and finances.

The company operates a milk processing facility in Shepparton.

Freedom Foods reported a $76.4 million earnings turnaround, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciati­on and amortisati­on (EBITDA) from continuing operations of $22.4 m, up 141 per cent on the restated 2020 financial year loss of $54 m.

The company reported a net loss after tax of $38.8 m, 72 per cent better than the restated 2020 financial year loss of $136.4 m.

Phase one of the company’s ‘Reset, Transform, Grow’ transforma­tion strategy is substantia­lly complete but Freedom Foods Group Limited chief executive Michael Perich said the full benefit of the strategy would not flow through until 2023.

Dairy and nutritiona­l revenue was up seven per cent to $394.3 m, with lactoferri­n sales up 215 per cent.

“As we enter the new financial year, we can declare the financial, structural, operationa­l and cultural reset of the company substantia­lly complete, with the company now having the right platform and talent to return it to longterm, sustainabl­e and profitable growth,” Mr Perich said.

“While there is more work to do, and we do not expect to see the full benefits of the improvemen­ts we are making flow through until FY23, the transforma­tion strategy provides the springboar­d to continue to grow the business by capitalisi­ng on the everincrea­sing consumer demand for healthier lifestyle options.”

The dairy and nutritiona­ls business is the focus of the group’s operationa­l turnaround strategy to reduce wastage, improve production efficienci­es, remove or reduce unprofitab­le products, optimise milk supply and curtail losses from the sale of surplus milk as experience­d in previous periods.

The initial focus has been on reducing milk wastage, increasing line efficienci­es and reducing complexity, which has resulted in progress on key metrics of productivi­ty and material wastage.

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