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PureCircle's sales, profits and margins hit by US problems

Strong growth in Europe and Latin America was more than offset by problems in the US, where border patrol has become interested in Stevia shipments
Stevia plant
Stevia is regarded as a healthy alternative to sugar

PureCircle Limited (LON:PURE), the maker of sugar substitute Stevia, lost a tenth of its value on Thursday morning after a profit warning.

Group sales in the first half of the current financial year are expected to be down 15% year-on-year at US$47mln.

The group said it expects gross margin, underlying earnings (EBITDA) and net profit in the first half will also be lower than in the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

Trading has been adversely affected by US border control intervention, which saw three shipments of stevia products detained in June.

The US Customs Border Protection (CBP) agency kicked off an investigation that saw PureCircle’s name included in a “Withhold Release Order”.

The company has worked extensively with the US CBP, providing tracking documents and related data in response to their detailed requests. It is now awaiting a decision from the CBP.

“Whilst the US CBP process has been a major distraction for our business in H1 FY17 and has adversely impacted our sales growth in the United States, I am delighted by the continued growth in sales in the rest of the world, which has further diversified our sales footprint, and by the strong customer support that we continue to receive,” said Magomet Malsagov, chief executive of PureCircle.

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PureCircle Limited Timeline

Article
September 21 2016
Newswire
July 12 2016

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