Yields & Deals-USF anticipates double-digit growth; integration of PYA/Monarch on track

Organic sales growth for U.S. Foodservice (USF), Columbia, MD, should continue into the second quarter and remainder of the fiscal year, consonant with 16-percent annual growth reported in the first quarter, according to parent company Royal Ahold, Zaandam, The Netherlands. USF sales increased 57 percent in the first quarter, largely through acquisition activity.

A reasonable growth target for the distribution business is about 10 to 12 percent, said Ahold ceo Cees van der Hoeven during a conference call on first-quarter results. Current trends indicate growth "north" of this target for the year, he noted.

Jim Miller, USF ceo and an Ahold board member, added that the U.S. meals-away-from-home distribution market as a whole grew just 1 to 2 percent in the first quarter, and that the $12-billion broadliner's gains were enhanced significantly through the addition of customers previously with the troubled AmeriServe Food Distribution, Inc.

At the same time, the integration of PYA/Monarch is on track, as one of the "smoothest transitions of the more than 30 takeovers we have done in the past five to seven years," Miller said. USF should achieve cost savings of more than $100 million this year through the acquisition of the southeastern regional, he noted.

By the end of September, USF expects PYA/Monarch customers to be converted to the USF ordering platform.


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