Bimbosan has successfully launched infant formula based on goat's milk in Switzerland and in international channels. This product category is enjoying increasing demand. The international brand business continues to grow and has expanded into three new markets. The private label business also gained new customers. The merger of Bimbosan AG into HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd was completed by mid-year. We have strengthened our sales teams to target further business development and to implement our strategy.
The Baby Care business segment achieved net sales revenue of CHF 27.9 million (PY: CHF 37.6 million; –25.8%). The lower sales are largely due to the private label business. However, Bimbosan also achieved slightly reduced sales compared to the same period last year, mainly due to the sales peak related to Covid-19 in the first half of 2020, the after-effects of the product recall in June 2020 with subsequent stock-out, and a general decline in sales in the specialist retail segment compared to the same period last year, which also reflected the Covid-19 impact. Nevertheless, Bimbosan successfully defended its leadership position in the specialist market.
The transition of employees to the HOCHDORF premises and organisational structure was successfully completed in January 2021 and the property in Welschenrohr was sold. Bimbosan's infant formula products are now packaged at the Hochdorf site. In the middle of the year, Bimbosan AG was merged into HOCHDORF Swiss Nutrition Ltd, effective retroactively from 1 January 2021.
In Switzerland and in international sales channels, Bimbosan launched a new line of infant nutrition based on goat's milk and goat's milk proteins. The steady increase in sales figures shows the high demand for alternatives to products based on cow's milk. From the middle of the year, Bimbosan will be able to make its full range of baby food products available to the specialist and retail trade. The range of baby foods – all in organic quality and made from Swiss raw materials – are now available for infants older than six months.
The international brand business is growing steadily. In the first half of the year, we worked intensively on our market entry in three new markets in Asia. The products will be delivered and available in the markets in the second half of the year.
Preparations are also underway in the private label business for deliveries in the remainder of the year to new customers in Europe, the MENA region and Latin America. We are working intensively with Pharmalys, our largest baby care customer, on portfolio renewals and expansions as well as registrations in new markets.
In the first half of the year, we successfully recruited the Bimbosan sales teams in Switzerland for the international distribution of our own brands, online retailing and the international private label business. It will take some time for the impact of the new teams to be become fully effective, especially against the background of Covid-19 hampering business development and with Baby Care projects classed as long-running projects.However, this lays the foundation for stronger customer care and market development.
We are working intensively to further strengthen our own brands nationally and internationally, to win new markets and to expand the customer portfolio of our private label business. We are also continuing to work on new product innovations. At the beginning of October, we will present our own Bimbosan and Babina brands in the Swiss Pavilion at the Anuga international trade fair for the food and beverage industry in Cologne (Germany).
In Switzerland, a second vegan infant formula based on hydrolysed rice protein will be launched under the Bimbosan brand in the second half of the year. This is a product for infants with special nutritional needs due to a cow's milk allergy or galactosemia, for example.