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Žito Announces Ambitious Plans for 2014 (adds)

Ljubljana, 12 December (STA) - Bread and pasta maker Žito announced on Thursday plans to increase revenues at group level by 2% to EUR 113.6m in 2014 and profit by 13.5% to EUR 2.3m. The company wants to expand its presence on foreign markets and increase the share of export sales to 17.8%.

"The consumers on the domestic market are of prime importance to us," Žito CEO Janez Bojc told the press in Ljubljana, but added that the continuing decline in consumer spending at home requires a more ambitious foray into foreign markets.

He was happy to announce that progress in this segment had already been achieved this year, above all in Italy, but also in Austria and Croatia as well as Spain and Denmark.

As regards the ambitious plans concerning profits, he said the idea was to boost them with cost management and higher productivity with the help of automation and effective work organisation. No reductions in the size of the workforce, presently at around 1,200, are planned.

The business plan for 2014 envisages EUR 5.4m worth of investment, mostly into the automation of production and packaging. Also on the list is an expansion of the retail network and a facelift at existing units.

The group recorded sales of EUR 79.9m in first nine months of 2013, which is a 0.8% year-on-year increase but slightly below plans, and posted a EUR 1.06m net profit, bouncing back from a EUR 566,000 loss in the same period last year.

It expects revenues to increase to EUR 111.6m by the end of the year, a slight improvement on 2012, while net profit is projected to increase five-fold to EUR 2m.

Žito is one of the 15 companies slated to be privatised by the current government. A group of owners controlling a 50.7% stake in the company signed an agreement on the joint sale on 23 October.

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