France’s Avril Group prepares for uncertainty

Compared with the previous year, the company achieved a 32% increase in revenue to just over EUR9.03 billion (US$9.96 billion).

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After delivering strong performance in 2022, France-based agro-industrial company Avril Group is preparing for more challenging business conditions this year.

Commenting on the results for France-based Avril Group for 2022 just published, the CEO said it was an excellent year for the company. However, there are many uncertainties ahead in 2023.

“2023 is already shaping up to be filled with political, economic and financial uncertainties,” said Jean-Philippe Puig. “On the strength of the resilience of our model, the solidity of our balance sheet, the coherence of our strategy, and the wealth of our talented workforce, I am convinced that we will be able to weather this new period of uncertainty with success and commitment, in keeping with our purpose: ‘Serving the Earth.’”

Compared with the previous year, the company achieved a 32% increase in revenue to just over EUR9.03 billion (US$9.96 billion). At EUR583 million, profit (as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization; EBITDA) was up 64% year-on-year.

Among the other headline figures, Avril increased its capital expenditure last year by 40% to EUR235 million. However, investments in the agricultural sector were 10% lower than in 2021 at EUR62 million.

Over the past year, the group has acquired six new businesses, but it has divested its activities in pork processing (Porcgros and Aberra), and eggs (Matines). This year, it completed the sale of its egg products business, Ovoteam.

Group’s 2022 performance by business sector

As well as four industrial businesses — consumer goods, solutions for agriculture, oilseed processing and renewable energy, and green chemistry — Avril Group’s investor business is carried out by Sofiprotéol.

In reporting its annual results for 2022, Avril Group describes the performance of its solutions for agriculture business as “excellent.” This comprises Sanders (animal nutrition), MiXscience (animal specialties), Terrial (fertilizers) and Feed Alliance (raw material purchasing).

By this sector, success was achieved despite the higher costs of commodities and energy that hit the livestock sector so hard last year. Overall, this business delivered an EBITDA of EUR36 million.

Avril reports that Sanders experienced a contraction in feed output as a result of animal diseases — including avian influenza — and decapitalization in 2022.

For Avril’s other industrial businesses, profitability held up. At EUR272 million, EBITDA was strongest for the oilseed processing and renewables business. This was followed by consumer goods — including oils, condiments, legumes and hygiene products — at EUR102 million, and EUR169 million generated by Avril Specialties, driven by growing interest in plant-based alternatives for consumer and industrial products.

Among the highlights reported for the Avril Development business was the commissioning last year of a rapeseed protein isolate extraction plant. Located in Dieppe, the plant is a project in partnership with DSM.

In 2022, Sofiprotéol — Avril’s investment and development arm — renewed and expanded its commitment to Hendrix Genetics.

Future prospects

In line with its strategy for 2030 and building on solid results in 2022, Avril Group says it is focusing on four markets. These are food processing and renewable energy, consumer products, specialty ingredients, and agricultural products and services.

The group aims to become a leader in plant processing for agriculture, food and the environment.

With interests in  plant and animal agriculture, Avril Group confirmed its future commitment to French livestock farming.

With a budget of EUR6 million, Avril and Sanders will be offering a further support to the nation’s farmers this year for projects to reduce the carbon footprint of farming, and to improve the health and welfare of the country’s farm animals.

More on Avril Group

Avril Group (Groupe Avril) is the largest feed producer in France, according to WATT Global Media’s Top Feed Companies survey. In 2021, the group’s estimated annual production of 2.7 million metric tons put it in joint ninth place in Europe for output volume.

In 2015, Avril divested its newly acquired broiler assets to French poultry producer LDC. Under an agreement at that time, Avril subsidiaries supplied feed to LDC’s operations.

According to the firm’s website, Avril Group was founded in 1983. Since then, it has become a leading player in the vegetable oil and protein sectors.

In addition to its 55 sites in France, the company has a further 73 facilities in 19  other countries. Its total workforce is around 7,400.

Under the Sanders brand, the group produces organic and non-organic diets for cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats and rabbits.

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