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Goodman Fielder on track for savings

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AAP

2012-11-22

Breads and spreads supplier Goodman Fielder says it is on course to make $100 million in annualised savings by 2015.

Goodman Fielder managing director Chris Delaney said the company's business improvement program, Project Renaissance, was producing its targeted cost savings and operational efficiencies.

"We are right on time in delivering that $100 million, and we continue to be confident in our ability to deliver the full $100 million over the strategic plan," Mr Delaney told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on Thursday.

Goodman Fielder in August posted a net loss of $146.9 million for the year to June 30, but the result was a 12 per cent improvement on the prior year's loss of $166.7 million.

Goodman Fielder's brands include White Wings, Meadow Lea, Praise and Helga's.

Mr Delaney said Goodman Fielder and its retailer customers had agreed on price increases for its bakery and grocery products.

The company's priority for the current financial year was to cut costs further and improve reliability and quality in core categories.

Goodman Fielder was also looking for new revenue streams outside of supermarkets, including artisan bread (batards, baguettes, ciabattas and rolls) and food service channels such as restaurants, bakeries and hot bread shops.

Mr Delaney said Goodman Fielder's goal was to diversify its earnings and grow its business in the Pacific region and in Asia.

On the outlook for the current financial year, Mr Delaney said market conditions would remain challenging.

"Consumer confidence in our core markets of Australia/New Zealand remain subdued and lead to a continuation of a challenging pricing and competitive climate," he said.

The turnaround of Goodman Fielder's bakery business was also on schedule: factory closures were on time and the number of products had been reduced.

Mr Delaney said the company would continue to sell non-core assets and use the proceeds to reduce debt.

"We expect a further reduction in net debt exposure this year of a further 20 per cent," Mr Delaney said.

He said that given the fact that price increases in the bakery and grocery sectors would become effective in December, earnings would have a stronger weighting in the second half of the financial year.

Shares in Goodman Fielder were two cents higher at 60 cents at 1136 AEDT on Thursday.