How do you see the Group s progress in 2012? Mario Guevara: We had a good year, results were consistent with our expectations and performance indicators are up. The Consumer business (stationery, lighters and shavers), 85% of net sales, saw an increase of 5.3%. This positive performance made up for the contraction in Advertising and Promotional Products (APP), down 9.2% for the year. All in all, I think it s very positive our Group s net sales rose by 2.8%. We have a very solid base, and that means good things for the future. Which markets gave the best results for BIC? Mario Guevara: 2012 was the year things balanced out between developed markets where sales grew by 5.6% and developing markets where they grew by 4.7%. Back to school season in Europe was good for stationery sales even while the overall economic environment was quite strained. Lighters and shavers also performed well in North America.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWBruno Bich, Chairman of the Board and Mario Guevara,
Chief Executive Officer
Shavers saw a return to solid growth What s the secret to their success? Mario Guevara: That s right, net sales for shavers grew 10.1% in 2012. The triple-blade shavers, both the classic BIC® 3 version and the BIC® Hybrid/ BIC®Easy model with moveable blades played a big role in that success. Thanks to innovations like these, we have won market share in most of the geographic zones where we are present, including the United States, a particularly competitive environment. That s quite a feat and one we should celebrate! In Latin America, we also increased our sales thanks in particular to an improved distribution network. But this success is first and foremost of the result of the quality work that our very committed teams do around the world. The BIC APP business is apparently still encountering difficulties. Is that right? Mario Guevara: The economic context is not really one that favors promotional products, particularly in Southern
2012 WAS A GOOD YEAR, RESULTS WERE CONSISTENT WITH OUR EXPECTATIONS AND PERFORMANCE INDICATORS ARE UP.
Interview by Gabrielle de Chastenet and Oana Jan
Despite the challenging economic environment that has affected all our markets, in 2012 BIC achieved a normalized IFO margin of 19.7% not far off its historic high in 2011 (19.9%). Overall, sales grew by 2.8% on a comparative basis. Bruno Bich, Chairman of the Board and Mario Guevara, Chief Executive Officer of BIC, review some highlights from another solid year and share with us their views for 2013.