The French recession, compounded by poor summer weather, had already sent the group into a Fr17.6m (pounds 2m) loss at the halfway stage. Now it says sales are likely to be about Fr5bn, only slightly below the previous Fr5.3bn, but that it will incur a loss - the second year of poor performance.
The Fr12.7m profit reported last year was less than a quarter of the Fr53.5m earned in 1991. Unilever, which owns Walls and is already the world's largest ice-cream manufacturer, announced on Monday it was buying 75 per cent of Safral, the family-owned company that owns 85 per cent of Ortiz. It is also making a public offer for the remaining 15 per cent at Fr1,420 a share.
The deal will give it the leading position in the French ice-cream market and a spokesman said it had expected Ortiz to make a loss this year. 'It reflects the difficult economic situation in France and the bad weather.'Reuse content