The company attributed this growth to strategic decisions, volume gains and price increases.
Recurring operating income amounted to €187 million, up slightly from 2021 when adjusted for the portfolio consisting primarily of the Leerdammer brand, sold at the end of September 2022.
'Resilient Financial Performance'
Frédéric Médard, chief impact officer of the Bel Group, said, “With strong organic growth, boosted by a positive price effect but also higher sales volumes, Bel ended the year with resilient financial performance.
"Thanks to the commitment of our teams and the quality of the various measures implemented, particularly in productivity, we succeeded in maintaining our financial equilibrium in 2022, despite the high-inflation environment that increased costs in all areas of expenditure, from raw materials and energy to transportation and labour."
Sales in mature markets amounted to €2.6 billion, down from €2.7 billion in 2021, while operating income declined to €54 million from €527 million.
In new territories, the company generated sales worth €941 million, up from €666 million in the year before. Operating income rose to €111 million from €102 million.
Chief executive officer of Bel Group, Cécile Béliot commented, "In a complex and highly volatile market environment, Bel’s performance attests to the resilience of our legacy activities and the relevance of our strategic growth areas.
"Our responsible management of price increases also contributed to these very solid results, which reflect consumer attachment to our iconic brands and the confidence of our distributor partners despite the current economic environment."
The Babybel cheese maker said it intends to pursue the development of its three business segments – dairy, fruit and plant-based products in 2023.
The company believes that strong volume growth in the fruit segment and sustained momentum in China confirm the validity of the strategic development areas chosen by Bel.
Béliot added, "Encouraged by these annual results, we look to the future with confidence while remaining attentive to the potential impact of ongoing inflation on sales volumes and consumer price sensitivity.
"We fully intend to capitalise on the quality of our teams, the strength of our brands and Bel’s financial solidity to pursue our growth objectives, while remaining true to our mission of championing healthier and responsible food for all.”