SHAREHOLDERS’ LETTER N°49
BIC Group’s Shareholders' Letter of March 2020
In the face of continued volatile and challenging trading environments, our 2019 performance was softer than initially expected. While we saw pockets of growth and momentum in our markets, overall, our topline performance was disappointing. We started the year expecting to deliver a slight increase in organic Net Sales and finished with a decrease of 1.9%. Like many Consumer Packaged Good companies today, we’re operating in a tough trading environment, facing market‐driven challenges in numerous geographies. The strongest headwinds comes from a noticeable slowdown, and in some cases decline, in our three categories.
Despite these challenges, we had robust sell-out performance and grew or maintained market share in most geographies. In Stationery, we performed particularly well and gained market share in South Africa for the fifth consecutive year in a row, driven by a consistent and successful Back-to-School selling period. In Shaver, we outperformed the market in all our major geographies. We finished the year with a +1.9 points gain in the U.S, and we also grew share in Russia for the fourth consecutive year, thanks to our Flex Hybrid range. Finally, in Lighters, we continued to outperform both the Pocket and the Utility Lighter markets.
Although we had solid sell-out performance, 2019 sell-in was negatively impacted by various elements, including the decline in the U.S. Pocket Lighter market, Back-to-School sell-in and sell-out in both the U.S. and Mexico, where delivery of our sales objectives fell below expectations. We also underperformed in India, as we continued to struggle in a fragmented and complex route-to-market.
While it was a challenging year, I’m proud that our teams remained focused on strong operational execution. We demonstrated our ability to seize new growth opportunities in fast-growing regions with the successful integration of Haco Industries in Kenya, and the acquisition of Nigeria’s number #1 stationery manufacturer, Lucky Pens. These moves will augment and strengthen our presence in Africa, reinforcing our competitive positions in this future growth region.
I am convinced that our categories have solid potential that can be leveraged by becoming more agile, innovative, and consumer-centric. While executing our “BIC 2022 - Invent the Future” transformation plan, we will continue to evolve our business. Combined with our solid business foundation, this plan will enable BIC to deliver long-term profitable growth and create sustainable value for all our stakeholders.
Gonzalve Bich, Chief Executive Officer
FULL YEAR 2019 FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
ACQUISITION OF LUCKY STATIONERY IN NIGERIA
On October 23, 2019, BIC announced the completed acquisition of Lucky Stationery in Nigeria (LSNL).
Nigeria #1 Writing Instrument manufacturer. LSNL’ s brand, product portfolio and distribution network will strengthen BIC’s position in Nigeria, the largest economy and also number one in the Pens market in the region.
BIC BRAZIL FOSTERS ARTISTIC TALENT
During the Arte Core Festival at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, BIC Brazil supported the urban art festival that had more than 22,000 attendees.
This event is known for bringing artists, skaters, and alternative music fans together.
BIC highlighted the two-day-event with 5 main attractions including Back to School press event with influencers and customers, first art exhibition made with BIC® products, shoe customization with BIC® markers, painting of a huge BIC® pen cap and eight workshops with BIC® products.
BIC CELLO LAUNCHES IT’S COLOURUP TV COMMERCIAL
With a focus on creativity and ColorUp’s ‘2x stronger wax crayon’ selling point, BIC Cello launched a humorous TVC calling on parents to fuel the imagination of their children.
RECYCLED MATERIAL FOR OUR TRAYS OF 50 LIGTHERS
The first commitment of our sustainable development commitments program “Writing the Future, Together” is to improve the environmental &/or societal footprint of BIC® products by 2025.
Regarding our Lighter business, the first action concerns the material used for our trays of 50 which will, starting now, switch to Recycled Polystyrene vs Polystyrene previously.
BIC WINS RESOLUTION WITH ARROW LIGHTER, INC
In January 2020, BIC defeated Arrow Lighter, Inc. (Arrow) in BIC’s lawsuit filed with the International Trade Commission (ITC).
Arrow has agreed to no longer sell certain low-quality, knockoff lighter models anywhere in the world.
The lighters, branded “MK” and produced by Arrow, imitate the iconic shape and design of BIC’s lighters without upholding BIC’s stringent safety standards.
BIC IBERIA CONSOLIDATES ITS COMMITMENT TO ESPORTS
BIC Iberia continues its strategy of approaching the young public by sponsoring for the second year eMonkeyz Club through its BIC® Flex range of razors.
eSports is a professional video games competition, highly popular in Spain: six million Spanish fans follow the games on streaming platforms and on-demand services.
It is also a great opportunity to connect with young audiences as 77% of the viewers are between 18 and 35 years old.
BIC USA EXPANDS MADE FOR YOU BRAND WITH LAUNCH OF GROOMING LINE
BIC USA unveiled a line-up of grooming products under direct-to-consumer brand Made For YOU.
The line includes Made For YOU Shave Cream, Body Lotion and Face Lotion to complement the existing line of refillable razor systems, all available exclusively on Amazon.
This launch marks BIC’s first entry into these grooming categories in the US.
NEXT BIG THING
BIC launched The Next BIC® Thing, a new, collaborative platform that will deepen its focus on consumer insights by bringing consumers directly into BIC's Innovation and Research & Development (R&D) process.
The Next BIC® Thing will allow consumers to access the latest news from BIC's new products and become part of a new group of brand ambassadors called the “BIC® R&D Squad.” The “BIC® R&D Squad” is a community that will test BIC's product prototypes, provide feedback, and interact with BIC's internal teams.
Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, The Next BIC® Thing will kick-off with BIC's new AI-enabled prototype shaver designed in partnership with Invoxia, a global leader in the design and development of connected devices.
BIC MOROCCO PARTNERS WITH JOOD
BIC Morocco partnered with a local NGO, Jood, as they launched their first male grooming and personal care truck for homeless people in Morocco.
The truck accommodates four areas for homeless men to use including a place to shower, take care of their oral hygiene, receive clothing donations, and a space to receive a haircut and a clean shave sponsored by BIC.
The truck will travel all around Morocco for a year’s time as it aims to benefit more than 8,000 people.
BIC PARTNERS WITH DONS SOLIDAIRES FOR THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON
BIC has been a partner of the French NGO Dons Solidaires for ten years by supporting them with two actions: donating school supplies to children in need and getting help from our team members to assemble Back-To-School kits.
The last edition of the "Kit scolaire 2019” (School Kit 2019) operation by Dons Solidaires mobilized 17 companies and a total of 210 associations received these packages and distributed them to 60,000 underprivileged children.
BIC EAST AFRICA LAUNCHES EDUCATION COMPETITION WITH ENACTUS KENYA
BIC East Africa and the BIC Corporate Foundation established a partnership with Enactus Kenya to launch a competition focused on Education within the Enactus National Competition.
The competition invites students to submit projects that help fight against school dropout, help disadvantaged children/young people reach their potential, support access to education for women and girls, and develop solutions that improve and promote environmental consciousness in education.
BIC PENS INCLUDED IN EMPORIO ARMANI AND MONCLER’S NEW COLLECTIONS
BIC Italy recently launched a test to push the BIC® brand inside the fashion world with two partnerships involving Armani and Moncler.
Following the trend product personalization, these two big players in the luxury industry decided to enlarge their portfolio outside their normal categories. For this reason, they created limited edition products to animate their stores and attract new consumers. They chose BIC as one of the partners to develop a dedicated range of Stationery and Lighters imprinted with their logo.
The products of Emporio Armani’s new collection, "Emporium," are on sale in “test” stores around the world: New York, London, Milan, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Chengdu, Shenzen, Rome and Monaco, and online on Armani's e-commerce website.
BLACK LION WINS FIRST PRIZE OF THE 2019 BIC ART MASTER AFRICA
Black Lion, a half-man, half lion piece of artwork by Fatiou Aboudou from Benin won first prize of the 2019 BIC Art Master Africa.
The winning artwork was chosen by a jury of experts and was selected for its creativity and technique. Black Lion will be added to the BIC Art Collection.
The BIC Art Master Africa Campaign was the first continent-wide art campaign in Middle Easr and Africa and was mainly pushed through digital, social, and public relations.
• Limited company Capital: 175,761,664.74 euros
• Divided into 46,010,907 shares of common stock, par value 3.82 euros
LISTED ON: EURONEXT PARIS
ISIN : FR0000120966
Continuous quotation 552.008.443 registered in Nanterre, FranceLearn more