LETTER TO SHAREHOLDER N°39
BIC Group Shareholders' Letter of August 2017.
In this edition of our Shareholders’ Letter, we will review, among other events this summer, the disposal of BIC Graphic North America and Asia sourcing operations and our participation in the publicity caravan of the cycling race, "Tour de France".
On 3 August 2017, we published our first half 2017 results. Net Sales were flat, with a good second quarter performance. Supported by new product launches in BIC’s Stationery portfolio, early back-to-school sell-in was strong. Lighters continued to perform well in Europe and sell-in rebounded in the U.S. In Shavers, Net Sales were driven by a solid performance in Europe and Developing Markets but down in North America, reflecting the continued highly competitive environment and disruption of the category in the U.S.
As markets remain volatile for the balance of the year, coupled with recent signs of lower consumption in Brazil, we now expect to trend between 3% to 4% Full Year Organic Net Sales growth.
While we continue to invest for the long term, we are adjusting our 2017 brand support due to market dynamics. Therefore, we expect the decrease in 2017 Normalized Income from Operations margin to be less than the – 100 basis points initially expected.
Bruno Bich, Chairman and CEO
2017 FIRST HALF PERFORMANCE
BIC, official supplier of the 2017 “Tour de France”
A historical partner of the world 3rd largest sporting event, the BIC® Publicity Caravan followed the Tour de de France on the roads of France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg from 1 July to 23 July 2017. Traveling across 3,521 km (2,187 miles), the BIC® Publicity Caravan distributed 400,000 "Made in France" products with packs containing a BIC® Cristal® ball pen, a BIC® Cristal® Soft ball pen and a BIC® Matic® mechanical pencil.
At each stage-city, BIC hosted activities for attendees and cyclists:
• The BIC® Boy escorted the cyclists for signing in before starting the race - using a BIC® 4 Colors™ Stylus pen,
• A prize wheel to win special gifts such as BIC Shave Club® boxes, the first online subscription service with a BIC® refillable shaver for men,
• The School Bus welcomed children and adults who enjoyed games and contests, and discovered BIC’s newest products,
• The BIC® Barbershop offered an express haircut or close shave to cyclists at starting villages.
Closing of BIC Graphic North America and Asian Sourcing Operations divestiture
On June 30, the Group announced the closing of the Asset and Share Purchase Agreement related to the disposal of BIC Graphic North America and Asian Sourcing operations signed with H.I.G. Capital (a global private equity firm based in the United States). On February 7, 2017, BIC announced that BIC Graphic Europe would report to European BIC Consumer Product management, and that In Developing Markets, BIC Graphic operations would report to their respective country's Consumer Product management. This divestiture concluded the strategic alternatives review initiated in February 2016 for BIC Graphic, BIC’s Advertising and Promotional Products activity.
Trophées des usines*: BIC wins the prize for the quality
For 23 years, L'Usine Nouvelle - a French economic magazine – has presented its Factory Trophies. From the factory of the year to a prize for transformation, seven trophies are awarded by L'Usine Nouvelle to a wide range of companies.
This year, the BIC Montévrain factory, which specializes in writing products, has won the prize for quality, recognized for its control of the entire manufacturing process enabling the facility to achieve of low scrap rates.
Oh Canada! BIC® lighters celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary
BIC has launched a new series of eight different Canadian themed lighters to celebrate the country’s 150th anniversary. The Canadiana series was inspired by the Canadian flag with red and white designs that feature maple leaves and Canadian national animals, such as the beaver and the moose.
Available in Canada
BIC® Soleil® Sensitive launch in Mexico
BIC® Soleil® Sensitive is specially designed to offer a gentle shave thanks to its comfort head that distributes pressure evenly over the skin, meeting one of the main concerns women have when shaving.
As part of this launch, BIC developed the manual, "Shine with BIC Soleil Sensitive in 30 days," in collaboration with a health coach. The manual promotes feeling good about oneself from the inside out.