July 20, 2018 / 9:13 AM / 10 months ago

Organic food maker Wessanen lowers outlook citing competition in France

(Reuters) - Dutch organic food producer Koninklijke Wessanen NV (BSWSc.AS) lowered its 2018 outlook on Friday citing increased competition in France, its biggest market.

The news knocked its shares, which were down 22 percent at 13.62 euros at 0902 GMT and on track for their biggest one-day percentage fall since going public in 1985.

Wessanen said it had seen an “unprecedented” number of organic products introduced in May in France where rising competition was impacting its Bjorg brand.

France accounted for 57 percent of the company’s revenue last year.

Wessanen reported a 0.3 percent fall in second-quarter own-brand revenue which includes Bjorg after a 4.3 percent rise in the first quarter.

ING analysts noted this was the first fall in own brand growth since Wessanen first reported the segment in 2015.

The company said it now expects moderate growth in own brands for the year versus an earlier outlook of “continued strong growth of own brands.”

It expects its earnings before interest taxes and exceptional items (EBITE) margin to be flat having earlier said it expected earnings to rise.

Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska; writing by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; editing by Jason Neely

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