Bell Group sales of added value products rise

Bell Group sales of added value products rise

Swiss meat company Bell Group has booked a drop in sales for 2014 but insisted the performance of "higher added value" products was "encouraging".

Sales declined 0.9% year-on-year during 2014, dropping to CHF2.6bn (US$2.56bn). Excluding currency exchange, total value sales fell 0.5%. An increased focus on higher value products meant that Bell's volumes decline was steeper, falling 1.1% to 215.6m kgs.

In Switzerland, the group said value-added sales saw "substantial growth" in 2014, driven by seafood, poultry and charcuterie. Sales volumes were "down slightly". Bell's revenue in Germany fell 2.8% due to currency exchange and lower pork prices. International sales - which take in sales made in France, the Benelux, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic - were down 8.4% due to FX and "considerably lower prices for pork in Europe". The unprofitable Slovakian business has been discontinued, Bell noted.

The company will report full-year results on 19 February.

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Bell Group 2014: growth in ranges offering higher added value
Bell Group held its own in a challenging environment. Ranges with higher added value posted encouraging growth. Nominal sales were affected by external factors such as negative inflation and currency fluctuations. At CHF 2.6 billion, Bell Group's sales were down 0.9 % on the previous year (-0.5 % adjusted for exchange rate differences). Sales volumes contracted by 1.1 % on 2013 to around 215.6 million kg.

Bell Switzerland
Bell Switzerland's sales grew by 0.8 % to CHF 1.86 billion. Ranges offering higher added value posted substantial growth. Seafood, poultry and charcuterie were the drivers of growth in 2014. Pork prices experienced negative inflation, a factor that had a significant impact on sales. Nevertheless, sales through the retail trade remained stable and the wholesale business posted considerable growth. Sales volumes declined slightly due to, among other factors, lower sales to the food industry, a weak barbecue season caused by the bad summer weather and a further increase in cross-border shopping tourism.

Bell Germany
Sales for Bell Germany dropped by 2.8 % to CHF 469.4 million. Adjusted for exchange rate differences, sales declined by 1.5 % only. This contraction is mainly explained by lower prices for pork and the composition of the product range. In spite of the falling market, sales volumes were on a par with the previous year, which means a gain in market share. Scalded and cured sausages and meat convenience products did well, but the air-dried ham product group could not entirely buck the weaker market trend.

Bell International 
Since 1 January 2015, the Bell Group's international activities in France, Benelux, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have been amalgamated under the organisational umbrella of Bell International. At CHF 268.6 million, the division reported a contraction in sales of 8.4 %. Nominal sales were affected by exchange rate factors and considerably lower prices for pork in Europe. The increasingly unprofitable Slovakian branch shops operations with around 30 units were discontinued during the course of the year and entirely withdrawn on 31 December 2014. Sales volumes declined, mainly due to the restructuring of product ranges with little added value.

The full 2014 Group results will be published on 19 February 2015.

Original source: Bell Group