Hochdorf targets growth in global premium infant nutrition

Hochdorf targets growth in global premium infant nutrition

Swiss dairy processor Hochdorf booked a jump in 2015 sales thanks to the inclusion of revenue from the recently-acquired Uckermärker Milch and Marbacher Ölmühle businesses.

However, on an underlying basis, Hocdorf's revenues declined last year.

The company said sales increased 28.6% in the year to CHF551.2m (US$576.2m). Excluding the positive impact of acquisitions on the top line, 2015 sales came in below 2014 levels, the company revealed. Hochdorf said the drop was the result of lower milk prices, which resulted in lower selling prices for dairy ingredients. Changes in currency exchange, in particular the increase of the Swiss franc against the euro, also weighed. 

Operating profit was flat at CHF20.1m, versus CHF20m in the prior year. Net earnings dropped to CHF13m from CHF16.1m in 2014. Hochdorf said the decrease was "attributable solely to currency effects". 

Hochdorf, which operates across sectors including infant nutrition and dairy ingredients, has set itself the aim of becoming a "globally operating, profitable niche company within premium products" by 2020. To this end, the company is focused on developing its branded value-added product line, particularly in baby care, as well as investing in its production capabilities. In order to support this investment, Hochdorf said it intends to raise CHF7.1m by issuing 717,380 new shares priced at CHF10 per share. 

While the company continues to progress its long-term strategy, the Swiss group also warned on continued near-term issues in the industry that are likely to impact 2016's results. "Due to the continuing low market prices for milk products, we anticipate that our gross sales revenue for the current business year will come in at CHF 560-600m," said CEO Dr Thomas Eisenring. EBIT is expected to total 3.8-4% of production revenue, the company added.