The cheese group Bel (Vache qui rit, Babybel) posted this Friday an increase in turnover for the year 2020, driven by the good performance of its flagship brands and the American and Asian markets, despite the Covid-19.
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The company achieved a turnover of 3.5 billion euros last year, an increase of 1.5% compared to the previous year, the group said in a press release.
In organic data, growth reached + 2.8% "
driven by the positive momentum of the core brands, in particular, Boursin, Kiri, Leerdammer and GoGo squeeZ in all of the group's markets
"The year 2020 is also marked by the return to growth of Bel France, Bel US, the Laughing Cow brand, as well as the continuation of the positive trajectory of MOM"
, underlined the press release.
by geographical area, the group estimated that
“The overall impact of the Covid-19 crisis on sales is not significant”
Contraction in the Middle East and North Africa
In the 4th quarter alone, sales fell by 1.9% to 862.2 million euros.
The group attributes this decrease to
"a negative currency effect (...) mainly linked to the appreciation of the euro against the dollar"
Bel notably observed during this period a
"contraction of the markets of North Africa and the Middle East"
These quarterly figures coincide with the call for a boycott of French products that emerged in several countries in this zone, after President Emmanuel Macron defended the freedom to caricature the Prophet Muhammad at the end of October.
But the drop in sales in these regions was offset according to the group
"by the strong growth of the North American and European markets".
Over the year as a whole, the Middle East and Africa region was the only region to post sales in the red (-6.3% to 678 million euros).
The Americas and Asia-Pacific region climbed 7.5% (to 920 million), while the increase is more modest in Europe (+ 1.9% to 1.9 billion euros).
Regarding the outlook, the group has been optimistic since it expects
"a further improvement in its operating margin, as well as a strong generation of cash"
(net cash flow generated by its operating activities), at the end of 2020.