In sales figures for 2016 published last week, the company attributed the results to lower sales in the business division Switzerland (-2.9 %), a decline of 0.2 % in the business division Europe and growth of 2.8% in the business division Americas.
Emmi said that inhibiting factors were strong retail tourism, increased imports to Switzerland, economic uncertainties and low global milk prices.
Sales performance in the business division Switzerland and business division Americas was in line with expectations, while sales in the business division Europe were below expectations.
Inhibiting factors were in particular the cheese and fresh cheese segments in the business division Switzerland, internationally low milk prices and difficult conditions in markets such as Spain, Chile and the UK.
However, there was growth from brands such as Emmi Caffè Latte, Yoqua, Kaltbach, Vitalait and Rachelli.
Acquisitions will help
Emmi’s CEO Urs Riedener said the development of niche markets such as organic and goat’s milk products and various recent acquisitions should have a positive effect on future sales.
In dairy products (milk, cream, butter), lower milk prices and slightly lower volumes had an unfavourable effect. In cheese, sales of AOP cheese fell, Kaltbach remained largely stable, and Luzerner Rahmkäse and Le Petit Chevrier achieved gains.
In fresh products, Emmi Caffè Latte and YoQua yogurt increased in sales, while sales of private labels were down.
The business division Switzerland accounted for 53% of Group sales, down from 56% the previous year.
Growth for Americas division
In the Americas division (which includes the US, Canada, Chile, Spain, France and Tunisia), sales were up 8.5%, from CHF 798.1m ($798.6m) to CHF 865.6m ($866.1m). Adjusted for currency and acquisition effects, this resulted in an increase of 2.8%, in line with the 2% to 4% forecast.
Emmi attributed the positive organic sales performance to the growth in Tunisia and the US. In Tunisia, yogurts, desserts and milk marketed under the Vitalait brand reported considerably higher sales, with corresponding positive effects on the dairy products and fresh products segments.
In the US, cheese exports from Switzerland (particularly Kaltbach) and locally produced cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses enjoyed fresh impetus.
The business division Americas accounted for 27% of Group sales, 2% higher than the previous year.
Decline in Europe
In the business division Europe, sales rose by 6.5% to CHF 519m ($519.3m). In organic terms, i.e. adjusted for currency and acquisition effects, this resulted in a decline of 0.2%, which means that Emmi’s expectations (growth of between 1% and 3%) were not met. Decisive factors were the decline in AOP cheese and the weaker British pound.
In fresh products, Emmi Caffè Latte and Onken in the UK and the Italian speciality desserts from Rachelli showed growth. In cheese, Emmi said the Kaltbach specialities and Der Scharfe Maxx performed well, particularly in Germany and Austria.
The fresh cheese segment was positively affected by the acquisition of Bettinehoeve and negatively affected by a decline in volumes and prices in Italy. Growth in the powder/concentrates segment is attributable to an increase in sales of goat’s milk powder.