Business Person of the Month

September 2013: Owen Killian, CEO, Aryzta AG

By Business & Finance
22 October 2013
Owen Killian

Aryzta revenues surpass €3bn as the company continues to out-perform analysts’ expectations.

Aryzta AG, the makers of the Cuisine de France product range, saw its shares surge recently after the company out-performed analysts’ expectations.

The company’s shares rose by more than 5% as it announced revenues had surpassed €3bn for the first time during the 12 months to the end of July 2013. Group revenue increased by 7% to over €4.5bn and EBITA increased by 7.1% to €476mn. The company increased its revenues in all the regions it operates. Europe posted 9.3% growth, North America saw revenues increase by 6.5%, and the rest of the world grew by 5.7%.

Commenting on the results, Aryzta chief executive officer, Owen Killian said: “Revenue growth and margin expansion performance was robust in 2013, given the level of change management achieved across the business. Underlying revenue growth remained positive, and the improved diversification of our channel mix should improve the sustainability of this growth.”

Poised for growth

Killian added that 2013 marks five years since the creation of Aryzta AG, with food Group revenue growth of 89% to €3.1bn, food EBITA growth of 134% to €407mn and consolidated underlying fully diluted EPS growth of 78%, achieved in a period challenged by prolonged consumer recession and highly volatile food inflation.

“Aryzta has emerged financially strong and poised for growth as it completes the final year of transformation into a customer centric group, focused on consumer trends and individual customer requirements,” Killian said.

Aryzta was formed by a merger of Irish company IAWS and Swiss company Hiestand which is why the company’s shares trade on both the Iseq and the Zurich index. In the five years since its merger, the company has more than doubled its earnings and has almost doubled revenue.

Executive leadership

A native of Co. Roscommon, Killian has been CEO of Aryzta since August 2008. Prior to this, he held several executive positions within IAWS Group plc since it was listed in 1988 and served as COO of Aryzta AG from 1997 to 2001.

Aryzta has operations in Zurich, Switzerland and Dublin and is the global leader in speciality bakery with geographic reach from North America through Europe to South East Asia and Australia. Some of its brands include Hiestand, Cuisine de France, Delice de France, Coup de Pates, La Brea Bakery and Otis Spunkmeyer.

Aryzta doubled its bakery output in its 2010/11 year when it spent €1.4bn on acquisitions, including taking full control of Canadian venture Maidstone Bakeries. It also bought Honeytop, a British flatbread business, in September 2011 for an undisclosed sum.


In early 2013, Aryzta announced the acquisition of Klemme AG, a leading bakery in Germany, which Aryzta hopes will substantially enhance the company’s channel diversification and product capability in the region.

As well as his leading role with Aryzta, Killian is a non-executive director and chairman of Origin Enterprises plc, a leading player in the agri-nutrition sector in Ireland, UK and Poland. He also serves as a director of Maidstone Bakeries and has been a director of A.Hiestand Holding AG since 2006.

He holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from University College Dublin (UCD).

CV highlights

  • Current CEO of ARYZTA AG.
  • Previously held executive positions within the IAWS Group, before taking up the CEO position in 2003.
  • Non-executive director and chairman of Origin Enterprises plc.
  • Director of Maidstone Bakeries and A.Hiestand Holding AG since 2006.
  • Holds Bachelor of Agricultural Science from UCD.

Merc logoBusiness & Finance, Business Person of the Month

Business & Finance, in association with MERC Partners, has been rewarding excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award over the last number of years. These awards seek to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and particularly those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.