Products with long aging period in the agro-food system: analysis of meat sector
di Mattia Iotti, Giuseppe Bonazzi e Vlassios Salatas
(University of Parma)
Intervento tenuto presso 8th AFE (Applied Financial Economics) Congress, Samos
Island, Greece, June 30-July 2, 2011 e pubblicato su "Conference proceedings" of
the 8th International Conference on Applied Financial Economics, Samos Island,
Greece, June 30-July 2, 2011, published by National and Kapodistrian University
of Athens, Greece, sponsored by Oxford University Press, UK.
* * *
In Italy the meat sector is characterized by the herd of swine heavy pig that
is bred to be processed for typical Italian cold cuts production, especially
the typical ham (PDO ham); for these hams are used fresh legs of pigs born,
raised and slaughtered in a defined area, and the pigs must have characteristics
of quality defined in specific production rules. The firms operating in the
agro-food system that produce long aging period food have to face problems
related to the high level of capital requirement; often the firms have
difficulties relating to the duration of the financial cycle, because the firms
require large investments in start-up activity for the acquisition of industrial
buildings, plants and equipments (Bonazzi et al., 2007); moreover, the capital
requirement is inherent with the typical production aging period, that requires
large volumes of capital, then expanding the capital requirement for equipment.
In fact, the cycle of aging of the fresh meat causes a further expansion of
capital requirements in order to sustain the cycle of working capital.
Considering the channel of sales frequently used by firms in the sector, as to
say namely large-scale distribution (GDO), it is to note an increase in average
day extension in receiving payment from customer, and this aspect of financial
dynamic improve capital requirement for processing firms. In order to comprehend
the characteristics of management of this type of firm, it could be useful to
compare economic and financial results, in order to consider the attitude of the
firm to generate cash flow sufficient to sustain the business cycle, pay interest
charge and distribute dividends to equityholders. In fact, in this type of firm,
it is possible to note a dyscrasia between economic and financial result, even
because of the long period of aging of production. About this topic, the paper
would examine a panel of firm in the agro food system, operating in the long
aging period food production, in order to quantify the difference in applying an
economic approach and a financial approach to analyze the firm’s data in the
sector, even comparing the results deriving from ratio analysis and cash flow
2.1 Income statement analysis
The annual account, based on the rules of the Fourth EU Directive, is a general
base, required by law, to evaluate economic, financial and patrimonial aspects
of the firm management; the annual account uses an accrual methods in order to
quantify profit to equityholders, considering positive and negative voices of
revenue on an accrual basis. This method allows to have attention to the creation
of value and do not directly consider the moment in which it is possible to
achieve the cash inflow or there is the cash outflow. The income statement, as
a part of annual account, is used to express the economical result of a firm in
term of profit, that is expressed using accrual methods. The income statement
considers the moment in which the value is created; in this way, the analysis
of profitability is performed using the analysis of annual economic accounts
(Ferrero, et al., 2005). The annual accounts analysis considers the data
presented in tables required by law (Andrei et al., 2006), as defined by the
European Union and the national civil law in Europe (in Italy the civil code of
commerce); in this way it is possible to compare data from different firm, even
from different countries (Andrei et al., 2006). The firm income considers the
accrual basis (Andrei et al., 2006) and expresses the moment of creation of value
so the income statement is not dependent by the generation of cash flow from
operations. The scheme required by law in Italy is:
In (1) T is turnover (sales), I is the stock (inventory), where Δ is annual
variation in order to apply accrual basis analysis, R is raw materials, S is
services, L is labour, D + A is depreciation and amortization, V is revaluations
and devaluation, E is extraordinary income or expenses, TX is income tax, Π is
profit; ω is a multiplicative parameter applied to respective quantity, in
order to calculate the total amount of turnover (Tω); respectively
α, β, γ, δ and ε are multiplicative parameter
applied to respective quantity, in order to calculate ΔIα (non
monetary cost), Rβ is raw materials cost, Sγ is services cost,
Lδ is labour cost, (D + A)ε is depreciation and amortization cost (non monetary cost). So it is (Lagerkvist et al., 1996):
Where in (2) i, j, k, l, m and n are respectively the different items of product
sold (i) and items of production factor bought (j, k, l, m and n). In (1) and (2)
costs are joined having attention to the different nature of cost. It is possible
moreover to express as follow (3) considering that Rβ and Sγ express
the external cost (Ce) defined as cost to remunerate external production factor:
It could be useful to note that the pre tax civil income (Πθ) is
different from the pre tax fiscal income (Πξ) in Italy, because many type
of cost with civil relevance have not fiscal relevance, it is:
And then, considering that Cnfr is cost with not fiscal relevance,
and considering a tax rate t, is:
In order to obtain some more information about the capacity the generate source
of finance, it is useful to apply the value added reclassification form of the
income statement (Ceccacci et al., 2008), that is expressed as follows:
In (6) EBITDA is earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and depreciation,
EBIT is earnings before interest and taxes. EBITDA expresses the capacity to
generate cash and sustain the financial cycle considering and intermediate income
margin that is assumed to assimilate the creation of cash by income cycle, not
considering non financial cost, as depreciation and amortization.
2.2 Cash flow statement and balance sheet analysis
Then it could be applied the cash flows statement (Brealey et al., 2003) in
order to quantify directly generation of cash, deriving this analysis from the
annual account; cash flow statement is also useful to analyze different sources
of cash flows (Shireves et al., 2000). It is that:
In (7) CF is cash flow, OCF is operating cash flow, UFCF is unlevered free cash
flow, FCFE is the cash flow available for equityholders (free cash flow). CF
is profit (Π) increased with costs that do not cause an outflow of money
(D + A) and the impact of income taxes (TX); OCF quantifies the absorption of
net working capital (NWC) and has a particular importance in the analysis of
firms with great absorption of working capital, as long aging period firm; UFCF
is the sum of OCF and the absorption of capital resulting from investments in
fixed assets (FA); UFCF is the cash flow available for debt service (DS, debt
service, where DS = K + I, with K is the principal and I is interest charge).
FCFE is the cash flow available for equityholders. The reclassification of the
balance sheet (Ceccacci et al., 2008) is conducted according to liquidity level:
In (8) TA is total asset, WCtA is total investment (asset) in working
capital, WCiA is working capital in inventories, WCCA is
working capital in cash, WCarA is working capital in account
receivables, FA is fixed assets. Reclassification of balance sheet liabilities is
conducted according to the origin of sources of capital:
In (9) TS total liabilities and equity, E is equity, D is total debt,
WCtB is total working capital liabilities, DFs is
short-term financial debts (due within 12 months), DFl is a
medium/long term financial debts (duration over 12 months). The difference
between WCtA and WCtB is net working capital (NWC).
Expressed in this way, the formulas allow to have a metric useful to compare
economic and financial result, even considering traditional ratio analysis
(Roe, Roa, EBITDA / I, EBIT / I).
3. The meat sector
In Italy, the production of meat is one of the most important industry in the
agro-food system, especially related to the production of pork and bovine meat.
The Italian production of pigs in 2009 is of 12,922,000 animals; 8,707,362 pigs
are to produce cold cuts with protected designation of origin (PDO), on IPQ-INEQ
data. The consumption of pork, in Italy, is 37.68 kg per capita in 2009 and the
self-supply rate was 68.9%. Genetic selection operates with two addresses: for
the cold cuts production, it is bred Italian Large White (LWI), Italian Landrance
(LI) and Italian Duroc (DI) even for production of meat for butcher is used race
Petrain (P). In Italy operate 121 slaughterhouses in the agro-food system
(year 2008) that have slaughtered more than 9 million pigs; the maximum
concentration of slaughterhouses is in Lombardia region (38), Emilia Romagna
region (27) and Piemonte region (18). All slaughterhouses are inspected at least
once a year to control information about the activity of slaughtering, in order
to detect the incoming streams of live pigs and outflows of raw material. This
procedure, associated to a selection, allows the exclusion of the fresh pork
legs not suitable for production reducing the final index of non-compliance.
The consumption of cured meats in Italy in 2009 was 1.1745 million tons, having
that the ham is the first cold cuts for consumption in Italy (280.6 thousand
tons), followed by cooked ham (275.8 thousand tons), Mortadella, with 173.9
thousand tons, and Salame, with 110,4 thousand tonnes. In Italy production of
cold cuts with PDO and PGI marks are 33, especially concentrated in northern
regions. The Region that has the largest number of protected products is Emilia
Romagna (11 protected products, 7 PDO and 4 PGI), Lombardia (3 PDO and 6 PGI)
and Veneto (2 PDO and 4 PGI). In 2009 there were 8.680 milions slaughtered pigs
certificates with PDO, mark 17.361 milions available thigh for PDO production,
14.550 milions thighs started to PDO production, of which 9,429,462 for the PDO
Prosciutto di Parma and 2,521,213 for the PDO Prosciutto San Daniele.
In 2008, the herds for PDO production were 4,819 in 11 regions of central and
northern Italy. The highest concentration of farms is 1,936 farms in Lombardia,
then we have Piemonte (970) and Emilia Romagna (926), so that 79.5% of herds is
located in these three regions. For the distribution of pigs per genotype, on
2008 data, there is the prevalence of pigs from hybrid verro, representing 67.2%
of the total.
Even in the meat sector, the European Community has implemented a strategy of
diversification of farm production in order to achieve a better balance between
supply and demand in the markets, considering that production, processing and
distribution of agricultural products and foodstuffs has an important role in
the Community. Reg. (EC) No 510/2006 of 20 March 2006 regulates the protection
of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products
and foodstuffs. The verification of compliance with specifications (Article 11)
shall be performed before selling the product by one or more competent agency
and / or one or more control agency within the meaning of art. 2 of Reg (EC) No
882/2004; the control agency operates as a product certification institution.
Istituto Parma Qualità (IPQ), linked with Istituto Nord Est Qualità (INEQ) has
implemented a system that provides control and compliance requirements for origin
of raw materials and production process upstream in the chain. In this system of
rules and controls, the farms must put the firm code and the month of birth code
on both legs, in order to have the slaughter of animals with at least nine months
of life; in this way it is possible within thirty days after the birth of the pig
to exclude animals born outside the territory of origin. The transfer of animals
between farms should be documented so it could be easier the control issued on
that by IPQ and INEQ. The slaughterhouse must fill out a document for each day
of production with a list of all lots of animals received and the number of pigs
slaughtered, codes of origin and origin. Moreover, the slaughterhouse puts on
each thigh a stamp of approval attesting to the code compliance of origin,
provenance and quality.
Raw material arrives at the cold cuts production firm with the mark of
identification and self-certification of slaughter, having a copy of the document
issued by the slaughterhouse. For every delivery, the production firm analyzes
the conformity of raw material and mark in an official register in which is
possible to find the description and all the identification elements of the
product. IPQ and INEQ include these data in their database and check all the
documents produced for each lot of production. It is the responsibility of IPQ
and INEQ to check all the quality standards of the cured product by testing and
verifying the minimum maturing period, the absence of morphological, technical
and taste defects. After these procedures, PDO certification mark is applied to
product and it could be marked on the product label.
4. Impact on local socio-economic system
The activities related to agriculture, processing industry and related services
have a central role in the socio-economic system in the province of Parma. The
food industry is the first industry in the province, with a turnover (2008) of
euro 7,500 million, 36.6% of total industrial sales in the province, deriving
euro 973 million from exports. The turnover of the mechanical food plant industry,
that is the third largest industrial sector of the province, has a level of
euro 2,200 million that is as 10.7% of total industry turnover. The sector of the
food and plant for food, taken together, amounted to 47.3% of the industry
turnover of the province. The food sector with the highest turnover is the sector
of pasta, bread, pastries, frozen foods and related products, even considering
the presence of some large companies; turnover of the sector is, in 2008,
euro 3,000 milion (40.0% of provincial revenues in the food industry and to
14.6% of industry turnover in general). The meat preserve industry generates
900 million euro turnover in 2008 (25.3% of sales in the food industry and 9.3%
of industry sales in general).
The province of Parma has an important meat processing activities so the local
socio-economic system is characterized by the presence of a large number of
firms in processing pork meat, especially in the production of cold cuts. In
the meat processing industry, having the analysis based on data made available
by the Registry of firms at the Chamber of Commerce of Parma, operates 446 firms
and 143 local units of firms operating in the meat processing industry in the
province of Parma (10.13 main activity code of ATECO 2007 classification), as
for a total of 589 units in the sector in the province of Parma. In the meat
sector work 4,399 staff employees and 322 independent operators, for a total
of 4,721 unit of labour. The municipalities in the province with greater presence
of meat industry are Langhirano (123 companies, 41 local units, 1,140 staff
employees and 72 independent operators), Lesignano de' Bagni (38 firms, 10 local
units, 352 staff employees, 18 independent operators) Felino (35 firms, 17 local
units, 634 staff employees, 44 independent operators), Sala Baganza (26 firms,
17 local units, 609 staff employees, 19 independent operators), 38 firms, 10
local units, 366 staff employees and 21 independent operators operate in the
municipality of Parma.
Parma PDO Ham is the most important production of cold cuts industry in the
province of Parma and is produced observing production regulations issued by
the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma ensuring the respect of EEC Regulation
2081/92 (now Regulation EC 510/06); Parma PDO Ham derive by processing thighs
of heavy pig that must be older than 9 months of age, weighing over 150 kg. The
pig must is bred in the territory of 10 regions of northern and central Italy
but the production process must be done in one part of the province of Parma
between the Via Emilia, at a distance of at least 5 km from north, by the river
Enza, to the east, and by the river Stirone, from the west. The south limit of
production is an altitude above sea level exceeding 900 meters. In addition to
the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma, Istituto Parma Qualità (IPQ) conducts
necessary quality checks on the ham as "third and independent part".
Analyzing the firm per
basing the analysis on produced hams per year,
there is a concentration of production in a small number of firms; with a total
production analyzed of 9,429,642 hams processed in 181 plants, with an average
production of 52,096 hams per plant, 58.85% of production is concentrated in
25.41% manufacturing plants that are characterized for an annual production of
more than 100,000 hams. Manufacturing plants with less than 25,000 hams per year
produced 5.62% of the hams, involving 34.25% of plants; moreover it is to note
that the plants up to 1,000 pieces per year of production are 8.84% of the total
(0.08% of production), while the plants up to 10,000 pieces per year of
production are the 22.10% of the total, with only 1,14% of the number of Parma
Ham in 2009.
The consumption of Parma PDO Ham is for 79% on domestic market and 21% in foreign
markets; 2,046,495 hams are exported in 2009 (12,662 tons) with an estimated
turnover of 181 million euro. France and the United States are the most important
foreign markets, and the whole European market accounts for 75.05% of exports,
while the American continent is 21.30% of exports, of which 18.81% in the USA
alone; exports to other states are modest, except Japan, that accounts for 4.28%
of exports, approximately 87 thousand hams in 2008. During the last decade there
was an increasing in consumption of Parma ham sliced and packaged in boxes for
sale in the refrigerated counter. During the period 2005/2009 the increase in the
number of meats sliced was equal to 83.2%, from 627,344 to 1,149,574 and the
relative packages production increased from 30.885 million of 2005 to 54.796
milion of 2009.
The slicing process performed in the production chain make easier the consumption
process, particularly in foreign markets where the process of slicing made at the
store or directly from the consumer is not always carried out with the necessary
expertise, thus penalizing the sale to final consumer. With regard to market,
Parma sliced ham, with a total production of 6,010,930 kg of food (1,865,490 kg
for domestic consumption, up to 31.03%, and 4,145,440 kg, 68.97%, for export)
confirms the presence of foreign demand for a product with a high level of
service. Even with respect to exports of sliced Parma PDO Ham, there is a
concentration of demand in some foreign markets, so the top 5 export destination
markets are Britain, France, Belgium, Germany and the USA; these markets generate
79.41% exports (49.12% for the first two target markets). Even if the sliced
product is concentrated in European market, that consumes 86.55% of exports,
is also of relevance the USA market for the sliced product (8.83% of the export
market for sliced).
5. Data analysis
In this sector, the paper analyze the annual accounts (year 2009) of a
sample of 50 firms
in the area of Parma Ham analyzing the balance sheet and income statement, on the
basis of data made available by the local Chamber of Commerce.
The analysis of the balance sheet shows an average TA of euro 15.212 million to
euro 1.047 minimum and euro 67.968 maximum, average WCtA / TA is
63.91% and FA / TA è 36,09%; αWCiA / TA is 37.17%. The other
components of working capital (WCcA+ WCarA) / TA, is 21.25%.
The analysis around the sources of capital in the sample shows, on average, that
leverage is 2.495 and DER is 1.495.
In order to quantify the creation of value, analyzing
data show a situation where average EBITDA is 0.459 million euro, 5 cases of
EBITDA negative; EBIT average is 0.384 million euro, 9 cases of EBIT negative on
50 firms; the average net profit is 0.092 million euro, with 15 cases of negative
net profit on 50 firms, so income analysis of 50 firms sample in the 2009 shows
in the sample, 35 firms generate profits (Π > 0) and 15 generate losses
(Π <= 0). In order to quantify the sources of liquidity, analyzing the
creation of cash flow, data show a situation where average CF is 0.039 million
euro, 6 cases of CF negative, OCF average is -0.477 million euro, 21 cases of OCF
negative on 50 firms; the average UFCF is -0.594 million euro, with 30 cases of
negative UFCF on 50 firms; average FCFE is -0.612 million euro, with 33 cases of
negative FCFE on 50 firms. The analysis shows a great absorption of capital in
the working capital cycle, moreover having difficulty in generating a positive cash
flow to serve debt (UFCF) and to distribute dividends to shareholders (FCFE). In
particular, working capital has a substantial effect on the absorption of liquidity
(5 cases of negative CF and 21 cases of negative OCF). It could be interesting to
note that there is a quite significance difference between net profit and FCFE
means applying a t test (two sample paired per means) as shown in
with a significance level that is 92,61% (1-0,0739) in a 2 tails type analysis
with a reliability 95. A certain level of difference in means appears applying a
t test (two sample paired per means) as shown in table 4 with a significance
level that is 88,75% (1-0,1125) in a 2 tails type analysis. A more clear
difference appears analyzing equity ratios (Roe and FCFE / E); the level of
difference in means appears applying a t test (two sample paired per means) with
a reliability 95% as shown in table 4 with a significance level that is 99,88%
(1-0,0012) in a 2 tails type analysis.
Roe of the sample is equal to 0.8453%, with a minimum value of -13.8454% and a
maximum value of 13.7024%, and average Roa of the sample is equal to 2.4759%,
with a minimum value of -4.2638% and a maximum value of 11.9884%. It is
interesting to note that only in 20 cases on 50 UFCF / I ratio is > 0 and in 17
only it is > 1; even more (UFCF-I)/DF is > 0 in 17 cases. It is to note that
EBITDA / I has 45 case of value > 0 and 38 > 1, but OCF / I has 29 case of
value > 0 and 25 > 1;
to this couple of ratio the t test (two sample paired per means) in order to
quantify the significant level of means difference, it is as shown in table 4
with a significance level that is 86,55% (1-0,1345) in a 2 tails type analysis.
The data analysis conducted upon a sample of 50 firms operating in the agro-food
sector, producing long period aging meat, shows that it could be noted a
significant difference in result deriving from applying an accrual basis method
and a financial method; in fact, these firms quite often are able to generate
profit, but in many cases there is a great absorption of financial resources,
in particular deriving from working capital cycle.
The analysis revealed a difficulty in generating cash flow (CF, OCF, UFCF, FCFE).
In the panel of data, it is possible to note a difference in economic and
financial result, comparing net profit and FCFE, and comparing Roe and FCFE / E,
considering that non always economic profit is a good indicator of the firms
capacity to generate cash. In order to express the capacity of the firm to pay
the interest charge, the comparison between EBITDA / I and OCF / I express that
an economic approach to the covering of interest has different result compared
with a financial approach that consider operating cash flow. The analysis thus
confirm the utility to integrate economic analysis (financial ratios) with
financial analysis (cash flow statement analysis) to evaluate the sustainability
analysis of the management cycle of firm operating in the long aging period
So the analysis carried out on the sample of firms included in the study shows
that there is difficulty in creating financial flows (UFCF) sufficient to support
debt service (DS), moreover expressing not the difficulty to generate profit for
the shareholders, but the incapacity in many cases to distribute dividends or
profits reinvestment to ensure discretionary investments (FCFE).
This work was supported by the necessary and useful data availability of annual
accounts of firms by Parma Chamber of Commerce; the authors are also grateful for
the availability of analisiaziendale.it,
in the provision of IT and methodology support that has facilitated the
development of research data, with special thanks to the administrator of the
Paolo Camanzi. The responsibility
remain in charge to the authors. The work, although the result of a joint
reflection, was prepared as follows: Mattia Iotti wrote paragraphs1, 2.1, 5,
Giuseppe Bonazzi wrote paragraphs 2.2, 3, 6, Vlassios Salatas wrote paragraph 4.
* * *
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