The HOCHDORF-Group maintains a lively discussion with internal and external stakeholders and target groups. Good relations with customers, employees and shareholders are of key importance to us. We also maintain regular contact with authorities, associations and local residents.
At our locations both at home and abroad we receive strong backing for our commercial success. We are an international and reliable partner. In this function we currently bear a major responsibility, with 407 full-time employees in Switzerland and 240 abroad. With a payroll of nearly CHF 53.0 million, we are an important player in regional commerce and for the Treasury at our locations. Local trades also benefit as far as possible from our investment projects.
The companies in the HOCHDORF Group see themselves as both customers and partners of productive agriculture. In addition to regular production, HOCHDORF helps to even out seasonal volume fluctuations and stabilise the market with its drying plants. By purchasing, processing and selling agricultural raw materials we enable many farming families to achieve a regular income.
We are particularly proud of the procurement of cocoa beans for our chocolate products in South Africa. It is rare for an African chocolate producer to procure its cocoa beans directly from Africa. We procure our cocoa beans from around 60 cocoa farmers in Tanzania. The cocoa beans are shipped directly from Tanzania to Cape Town (South Africa) and processed. Thanks to this direct procedure the entire value chain stays on the African continent.
HOCHDORF is involved in numerous industry organisations, interest associations, expert commissions and working groups, and is committed to achieving good understanding, including the Federation of Swiss Food Industries (fial), the Organisation for the Milk Sector (BOM), the Association of the Swiss Milk Industry (VMI), the Association of the German Milk Industry (MIV) and the foundation "Switzerland Folic Acid Campaign".
HOCHDORF places great importance on good and effective communication. In this regard, Corporate Communications ensures that all internal and external information is up to date, accessible and tailored to the target groups. It is important that all stakeholder groups receive information that is as timely and needs-related as possible. As a stock exchange-listed company, we comply with the directive on ad hoc publicity of the SIX Swiss Exchange. Internal communication channels include the monthly CEO newsletter, the intranet, e-mails, on-screen messages, a monthly information sheet and wall posters. There are also two information events every year for employees at all the Group's Swiss locations. The internal information policy is set down in writing and guarantees that our messages are appropriately forwarded to every level. In return, the employees have the opportunity to pass on their input via their immediate line managers or directly to the CEO.
The annual report, the letter to shareholders about the half-year financial statements, the customer magazine, HOCHDORF Inside and various e‑newsletters, provide shareholders and customers with regular updates on the course of business, Group developments and the market environment. Media representatives and analysts are also informed about the annual figures at the annual results press conference. The HOCHDORF Group uses press releases to communicate information about special events on an ad-hoc basis. All the latest information can be viewed at any time on the website (www.hochdorf.com) and some of it is also disseminated via social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
For the HOCHDORF Group, small sponsorships and donations are a component of its social responsibility. The Group concentrates its commitment in this regard particularly on activities in the vicinity of its locations, as well as on the areas of sport and charitable commitments.
HOCHDORF supports the Hochdorf Football Club as the main sponsor and the Seetal Hockey Club as a sponsor. In addition, we have supported various events in the vicinity of Sulgen and Hochdorf, such as Osterspringen Amriswil, the cantonal Schwingfest in Hohenrain and the Verbandsturnfest Lucerne, Obwalden and Nidwalden. In the charitable field, HOCHDORF has supported the local Samaritan association with Heliomalt and milk during blood donation events for years.
With its donations, the HOCHDORF Group supported about 140 camps, associations, and organisations in the 2017 and 2018 business years with products such as Heliomalt, wheat germ shakers, VIOGERM® Wellness Crisps and FEMTORP® Mousse. The associations and schools value our involvement very highly.
The subsidiary in South Africa has been involved in the Africa Woman Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF), which supports women entrepreneurs in Africa. In addition, HOCHDORF has donated to WWF South Africa or Food and Trees for Africa, which deals with questions of food security and ecological sustainability.
At the international level we have supported Peruvian nuns with non-cash gifts for many years. The nuns are active in rural areas of Peru, not only providing spiritual welfare services but also performing numerous social tasks such as distributing medicines, giving lessons in hygiene, working as midwives and nurses, etc. For more than eight years now, HOCHDORF has been donating to the Zoodo Switzerland Foundation rather than spending money on Christmas gifts for customers. In this way, we support a baby orphanage in Burkina Faso.