Finnish dairy firm Valio has posted a 3% increase in net sales in full-year 2019, to €1.73 billion, with domestic sales (+0.5%) and international sales (+7%) both seeing an increase.
The group said that its performance in Finland was boosted by the performance of its snacks and plant-based product ranges.
In Finland, the group's Valio PROfeel range saw the rollout of a new line of 'protein puddings' last year, which led to increased sales, while its plant-based Valio Oddlygood range saw the introduction of a 'veggie slices' range, as well as a 'barista oat drink' developed in collaboration with coffee professionals.
However it said that sales of its milk products declined in line with market trends.
Internationally, net sales were up to €715 million last year (from €669 million the year before), with sales in China rising by close to 40%, particularly in the value-added powers market.
Net sales growth was 'moderate' in Sweden, Estonia and Russia, while profitability in the US market 'advanced as planned', the company said.
The group said that its share of Finland's total food exports is around 25%, with the business largely distributing milk powders, cheese and butter to international markets.
“We see international growth potential especially in value-added ingredients," commented chief executive Annikka Hurme.
"This growth is currently limited by the drying capacity of powders because it takes longer to produce value-added powders than ordinary milk powders. In the years ahead, we will be upgrading the production lines to increase plant capacity,”
The Year Ahead
Valio has pledged to step up investment in value-added powders this year, while also continuing with its three-year project to improve cost efficiency and competitiveness.
It noted that the year 2020 has already started under 'exceptional circumstances', with the coronavirus epidemic set to impact its operations in Finland and the rest of the world.
While retail demand is growing, due to increased dining at home, the group's HoReCa business will be 'significantly affected' in the months ahead, the company said.
“In all our operations, we aim to serve customers and consumers in the best possible way," said Hulme. "We are working in collaboration with co-operatives to support the dairy farm entrepreneurs, and we are doing our best to promote employee wellbeing and coping also during exceptional situations.”
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.