Baby Care Division

The acquisition of the long-established Swiss company Bimbosan AG and the commissioning of the new production facility represent important strategic milestones. In market terms, the business division achieved good organic growth, helping to offset the loss of sales in China.

In 2018, the Baby Care Division generated net sales revenue of CHF 176.0 million (PY: CHF 168.8 million; +4.3%). The increase in turnover is attributable to the acquisition of Bimbosan as well as the organic growth achieved with existing customers. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach the targeted turnover of CHF 200 – 215 million as projected in the interim report.

Companies

In August, HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd launched the first commercial production runs on the new production and filling line in Sulgen. In the next step, the company aims to increase the capacity utilisation of the new plants gradually by adding new customers and generating growth from the existing customer base. The existing facilities for the production of infant formula were very well utilised in 2018. HOCHDORF has also made the strategic decision to produce the infant formula for the Chinese market exclusively in Sulgen.

Pharmalys Laboratories SA recorded two very different sets of half-year results: The weak first-half results were followed by relatively strong results in the second half. Overall, the strong growth momentum of 2017 could not be repeated. This is not least because we have partially changed the business model to ensure sufficient liquidity for the Group. As a result, some orders were cancelled or postponed.

To strengthen the Primalac and Swisslac brands, we have increased the marketing budget in 2018, among other measures. The higher costs for entering markets across the various countries in Africa and the Middle East also weighed on the result. Nevertheless, the new market entries can be described as successful. In addition, the company managed to maintain or even increase market penetration in some existing countries.

Bimbosan AG became part of the HOCHDORF Group at the end of April 2018. The well-established Swiss company generated sales and earnings that are in line with expectations. The communication activities in Switzerland, which had been stepped up before the acquisition, continued as planned. The strong market position in the domestic market supports the internationalisation of the brand, which we will launch in Vietnam. The documents for the registration of the Bimbosan trademark in China have also been submitted.

Outlook

In 2019, we hope to register the submitted trademarks for the Chinese market. However, according to a relatively new regulation, the production plant must first be audited again by the designated authorities. Based on the information we received, this audit will cover the first half of 2019. If the outcome of the audit is positive, we will be able to supply infant formula to the Chinese market by 2020 at the latest.

As a result of the newly created capacities and sales efforts, we expect higher net sales re­venue in 2019 compared with the previous year, in the range of CHF 220 – 240 million. For HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd, the capacity utilisation of the new facilities is a high priority. Despite some new customers and the projected growth of existing customers, we expect a relatively low capacity utilisation of the new plant in 2019. The additional depreciation will have an adverse effect on earnings. Successful registration of our plants and trademarks for the Chinese market would have a positive impact on capacity utilisation.

Pharmalys Laboratories SA aims to achieve controlled growth over the next few years with its Primalac and Swisslac brands. The challenge is to achieve sustainable growth while securing the liquidity situation. Pharmalys wants to use both existing and new products to achieve growth in existing and new markets.

In the 2019 financial year, Bimbosan AG will invest further in the long-standing Swiss brand both in Switzerland and internationally. We also expect sales to grow thanks to the ongoing internationalisation process. Again, the successful registration of the trademark for China could provide the international marketing effort with an additional impetus.

Strategy in brief

We offer our customers a broad range of high-quality, Swiss-made food products for infants and children. We also support our partners with services such as sales and marketing training upon request. The Baby Care Division has an international presence and it plans to grow its business in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In selected markets, we are seeking to get closer to the end consumer in the value chain with our in-house brands Primalac, Swisslac and Bimbosan. To achieve this, we are investing in the market presence of our own brands.

Product range

Milk products for pregnant women, infants and young children and cereals (made in Switzerland).

  2018 2017 2016 2015
Net sales revenue (in TCHF) 175,960 168,751 123,029 110,417*
Share of revenue abroad (in %) 92.495.8 95.5 91.7
Volumes sold (in tonnes) 17,929 16,751 17,15916,763

* Gross sales revenue (in TCHF)