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Interview with



In a volatile context marked by a return to high inflation and geopolitical uncertainty, VIVESCIA Industries is proving to be very resistant, with revenue exceeding €2.5 billion for the first time and Ebitda that continues to grow, explains its managing director, Olivier Miaux.
What is your overall assessment of the 2021-2022 financial year, which ended on 30 June 2022?
The last financial year was particularly complicated given that it marked another year impacted by the pandemic. This was in addition to runaway inflation on all costs within the entire scope of VIVESCIA Industries. VIVESCIA Industries has shown great resilience considering this objectively unfavourable context, posting financial results as measured by Ebitda up 9% year-on-year and positive net income. Our total revenue has grown by €460 million, including nearly €430 million of organic growth, reaching a record €2.5 billion over the last financial year. This growth is linked in part to favourable price effects, but also very healthy volume growth. The level of debt is stable compared to last year and fully under control. Indeed, we have relaunched our investment plans with nearly €100 million invested in preparing for the future.
This year was marked by the return to war in Europe. What impact has the conflict in Ukraine had on your businesses?
We decided to immediately stop production in our two malting plants there to protect our employees, who we continue to provide financial support for. This conflict led us to record significant provisions for certain Ukrainian assets, such as stocks of raw materials and finished products. Regarding Russia, we are careful to comply with local and international rules.
How is the conflict affecting your businesses indirectly?
The return of inflation was clearly noticeable in all our businesses before the conflict began, but the war was a catalyst. From March 2022 onwards, all our costs – energy, raw materials, ingredients, transport and packaging – skyrocketed with, in addition, high price volatility. Our external costs increased by 25% compared with the previous year. That is unprecedented and exceptional.
How were you able to limit the impact of this inflation on your customers without suffering financial losses?
We used several methods to avoid an impact on our Ebitda this year. First of all, we negotiated targeted price increases with our customers and worked to increase volumes by winning market share. We have continued to work on our consumer range. We have sometimes streamlined our product ranges to simplify production, enable longer production runs, and reduce our costs. And finally, we have pursued our efforts to improve efficiency and optimise our operational processes.
How is VIVESCIA doing in the various regions it operates in?
We have seen growth in all our regions except for Asia, due to the repeated lockdowns that harm tourism and have therefore impacted our frozen bakery sales in this part of the world..
Could you give us some details about VIVESCIA Industries’ three main businesses (milling, frozen bakery, and malting), which make up 89% of its revenue?
Malt sales are practically stable in volume if you ignore the closure of our two plants in Ukraine. This business, which is very sensitive to energy prices due to the necessity to dry the barley, has maintained its profit margins despite inflation. Our frozen bakery business has seen strong volume growth thanks to a return to a more dynamic market, less affected by the pandemic, and market share gains. The same is true for the milling business, in particular food processing customers as well as our iconic flour brand, Francine, which has achieved record market share among French households of more than 37%. The performance of our frozen bakery and milling businesses have improved despite the headwinds of inflation.
What about the other businesses (animal nutrition, maize processing, green biotechnologies, etc.)?
The maize processing business, Kalizea, has seen volume growth thanks to good results in Romania, but Ebitda is down due to the slight delay in passing on price increases to our customers, with whom we often have annual contracts. Our animal nutrition business is suffering due to inflation in plant ingredients, especially for cattle and poultry feed. In addition to this, high levels of rainfall during the summer of 2021 means farmers have abundant fodder and don’t need to buy as much feed. And finally, ARD has posted good revenue growth and Ebitda. Both a project incubator and innovation accelerator, this business operates on a buoyant segment (industrial biotechnologies, plant fractionation, and plant chemistry). These are high-potential markets, and our teams boast world-renowned expertise. Furthermore, ARD can manage the entire process from laboratory trials to industrial scale-up with contract manufacturing solutions. In short, we help our customers get from the test tube to large-scale production. By the spring of 2023, we will have completed works to increase our production capacity, which is reaching saturation.
What is the outlook for VIVESCIA Industries for the 2022-2023 financial year?
We obviously don’t have much visibility regarding our industry – much like the economy as a whole. Price increases will have to continue, but the impact on consumption remains uncertain – this is an unknown factor. The directors of our various businesses are working hard with their teams and monitoring our markets closely. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to them and hail their incredible endurance. In any case, we will continue to move forward and invest so that we can make the most of the recovery when it comes. All our transformation plans and aims to win market share are now more than ever done in line with our “LINK” sustainable development policy and our climate strategy, which will be finalised during the current financial year.

Visit of Olivier Miaux (Managing Director of VIVESCIA Industries) and Olivier Hautin (Managing director of Malteurop) to Gdansk, Poland, to meet Malteurop’s Ukrainian employees and their families, who were taken in by their Polish colleagues.