The Group reported a continued strong growth and an improved result for the second quarter of 2019. We generated a top line growth of 10 percent to MSEK 2,472 and our adjusted EBIT increased by 24 percent to MSEK 115 compared to the same quarter last year.
The demand for our products continued to flourish in the second quarter and we continued to gain market share and improve our sales mix. Our top line growth was consequently well above the 7 percent average organic growth we have demonstrated over the last five years. The strongest growth was generated in the Ready-to-eat product category (26 percent) and in the Ready-to-cook Chilled product category (10 percent). We continue to observe a decline in the less profitable Ready-to-cook Frozen product category (-10 percent) and the export share continued to decrease in the second quarter.
Poultry products are becoming increasingly attractive to consumers due to taste, environmental profile, favorable pricing and not least a very healthy product compared to most substitutes. During the last years we have gained market share in our home markets through the introduction of new innovative products and our focus on improved sustainability work. I am convinced that these drivers will continue to work in our favor and enable us to sustain significant growth over the longer term.
Scandi Standard is uniquely positioned among our competitors in our home markets. We are geographically well diversified, have a skilled organization and a robust structural setup. During last year we have proven our ability to pass through raw material price changes and I am looking forward to gradually demonstrate the earnings power inherent in our business model.
The majority of our capital investments this year will be directed towards our business in Ireland. The investments are aimed at increasing efficiency, improving animal welfare, food safety differentiation and debottlenecking. For the group, we expect to invest around MSEK 380 in 2019. During the beginning of the third quarter of 2019, we have paid the first tranche for the earn out linked to the Manor Farm acquisition in the amount of MSEK 133.
By the end of the second quarter 2019, our net interest-bearing debt was MSEK 2,451, compared with MSEK 2,497 by the end of the same quarter last year. Operating cash flow was MSEK 138 compared to MSEK 74 in the same quarter last year, mainly driven by higher EBITDA and lower capital expenditure. During the quarter, we returned MSEK 131 (SEK 2.00 per share) to our shareholders and reinvested MSEK 102 in our business. We remain committed to finding a good balance between returning capital to our shareholders and reinvesting into profitable growth.
We are carefully following the structural changes in our sector and believe that we are ideally positioned to take part of the consolidation of the European poultry market. We believe the acquisition of Manor Farm is a good illustration of how we can create value and stability for our shareholders. The acquisition has contributed to further geographic diversification and we are happy with our cross-country teams’ ability to deliver benefits through exchanging best practice within the group.
I am pleased with the way Scandi Standard is currently positioned with a robust business model of sustainably produced, healthy products. Based on the current market outlook, I see good opportunities for incrementally improving returns to the shareholders in the coming periods.
Leif Bergvall Hansen,
Managing Director and CEO
Please, see the interim report, second quarter 2019: English Swedish