•  Bel 9m sales up 5.6%
  •  Q3 sales gain 4.8%
  •  "Double digit" growth in Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific
Babybel maker Bel boosted by emerging market footprint

Babybel maker Bel boosted by emerging market footprint

French cheese maker Groupe Bel has said growth remained "firm" in the first nine months of the year due to "steady expansion" in emerging markets.

Sales for the first nine months of 2012 increased by 5.6% to EUR1.96bn (US$2.5bn). During the third quarter, sales were up 4.8%, the company added.

The company said gains were driven by double-digit growth in its Greater Africa and Americas, Asia-Pacific regions. Bel added Eastern Europe also performed "well", despite a deprssed economic backdrop. This helped to offset weaker trends in the Middle East and Western Europe.

Looking to the full year, the maker of Laughing Cow emphasised the overall trading environment remains "uncertain". However, the group said it expects to grow its market positions thanks to its "balanced geographical reach" and "extraordinary brands".

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Fromageries BEL
Third Quarter 2012 Sales Report

Growth remains firm in Q3, thanks to steady expansion in the Greater Africa and Americas, Asia-Pacific regions

Consolidated sales for the first nine months of 2012 totaled €1,961 million, up 5.6% versus end- September 2011.

Excluding a positive 1.8% impact from foreign exchange fluctuations, nine-month sales advanced 3.8% organically.

In Q3, sales grew 4.8% to €664 million. Organic sales growth for the third quarter came to 2.3%, a satisfactory performance given the current geopolitical and economic context.

By geographical region, the sales trend was as follows:
The Greater Africa and Americas, Asia-Pacific regions continued to thrive, reporting double-digit sales growth in Q3.

The Eastern Europe region also performed well, despite a depressed economic backdrop.

In Q3, slower growth was observed in the Near and Middle East region owing to distribution issues in some markets, while consumer spending in certain Western European markets continued at a lackluster pace, and prices for manufactured products remained weak.

Overall, however, the Group's satisfactory nine-month sales performance confirms the solidity and strong appeal of the brand portfolio, the relevance of the product innovations offered to our consumers and the quality of the sales strategies deployed locally.

Outlook for 2012
The overall environment remains uncertain, with eroded economic conditions and stalled household spending in Europe.

In the Near and Middle East, the Group has encountered growing operating problems in its markets, with little visibility over the months ahead. Operations in Syria remain suspended.

However, the Bel Group remains confident in its ability to defend and grow its market positions, thanks to its balanced geographical reach and extraordinary brands.

Original source: Groupe Bel