Autogrill in digestion mode

By Administrator |

Senior management at Autogrill told its shareholders meeting earlier this week that the company is still expecting tough times ahead and it repeated its earlier end of year results comments that it is unlikely to

be looking at any more major acquisitions between now and the end of this year.

While the company approved its financial statements for 2008, it also voted to pay no dividend and Chairman Gilberto Benetton told reporters afterwards that he expected stormy conditions ahead, though not a 'hurricane'.

Earlier, the company's CEO Gianmario Tondato Da Ruos warned shareholders that 2009 will be 'a very difficult year' although he pointed to some easing in pressure on the motorways' side of the business. Meanwhile, Benetton pointed to a significant fall in overall motorway traffic in Italy because of the recession, but added that the impact on the group was even worse when looking at the decline in global airline traffic and the knock-on impact on its travel retail business which obviously includes World Duty Free, Aldeasa and Alpha.

This year the company is forecasting that its EBITDA will end up somewhere between E.575m and E.625m ($751m and $816m), while sales projections are currently running at between E.5.7bn and E.5.9bn ($7.4bn and $7.7bn) for the whole group. Last year, the group turned in net profits of E.123.2m ($161m) on sales of E.5.7bn ($7.4bn).

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