Speaking to FoodProductionDaily.com, company managing director Pietro Cassani said the group was bidding to maintain the progress in the previous year that had seen year-on-year sales jump almost 40% to break the €1.4bn barrier and profits almost treble to €32.4m compared to 2010.
"In general, we are hoping to maintain the growth we had last year in revenue and sales,” he said. “2012 is more difficult than last year and reaching this goal will not be easy – but at the moment we are on target.”
The Sacmi chief said he believed it was possible to buck the trend and achieve growth during a recession.
Cassani explained that much of the 2011 growth came in the so-called BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China. However, the worldwide recession has dampened demand, particularly in China and India.
He added that a company investment and divestment programme undertaken at the start of the recession reaching €65m – including financing R&D operations, plants and machine tools – had paid dividends. The firm had also taken on 180 new workers.
The managing director of the Italian company said that its beverage packaging division – which includes bottling, closures, PET preforms and filling – had last year seen revenues rise 10% to around €300m.
Chocolate operations – consisting of equipment both for manufacturing and wrapping of the food – recorded revenues of €90m, just blow the target of €100m.
“Following the acquisitions and integration of OPM and FIMA into our chocolate unit, our target was to be above breakeven,” said Cassani. “In the end the profit after taxes from this division was €1.5m which shows what a strong part of the business this is. Indications for 2012 are positive and we expect revenue growth here of around 15%.”
Growth possible in recessionary times
The company said the overhaul of its plastic injection subsidiary Negri Bossi was finished in 2011 which has led to the rolling out of a completely new product line – including a full range of presses - electric, hydraulic and hybrid units.
“The strategy has focussed on the fine-tuning of processes and products that consume less energy,” said Cassani.
Boosting production flexibility combined with the reduction of specific product costs and greater attention to sustainable challenges in terms of recycling of raw materials, item weight and thickness reduction had all been key aims, he added.
“With a clear strategy, a global presence and careful attention to both product and customer, growth can be achieved even in harsh economic times,” said Cassani.