Interview with Thierry Blandinières, at the end of the 2015- 2016 financial year
13 December 2016
The launch of the “2025 by InVivo” strategic plan two years ago marked the InVivo group’s revival, and its strong desire to grow internationally, including in new business areas, such as food and wine.
After a very positive first year of deployment, how would you characterise InVivo’s results for the 2015-2016 financial period?
The results are satisfactory and in line with the objectives that were set. Our turnover reached €6.4 billion, which is up 13%. This growth results from the development of activity within all of our current business areas. Economic performance has been highly satisfactory with EBITDA at €116 million which is up 9%.
Dividends paid to cooperative members amounted to €97 million. They are equivalent to those of last year. The group’s net income share was €55 million. InVivo’s financial ratios are very healthy and will allow us to continue our development.
French agriculture is going through a series of major crises. The economic situation globally is also difficult. How do you approach these challenges?
The 2016-2017 period is being characterised by a very difficult agricultural situation in France.
This is particularly the case for dairy and beef cattle farming, but also for the wheat sector, which for climate reasons that were very specific to our country this spring has experienced a historic crisis, which is a real challenge for our subsidiary InVivo Trading. Globally, the slowdown in Chinese growth affects many markets in various ways.
Growth is slowing in Brazil and Mexico where we have strong positions. We remain confident despite these unfavourable circumstances. Agriculture remains a strategic sector and the demand for food is increasing. We will continue to invest by being highly vigilant about our cost structures.
What are the prospects for the InVivo group?
I am convinced that in the face of the crisis, the InVivo group’s business model will prove its robustness thanks to the four pillars constituting its four primary businesses: Agriculture, Animal Nutrition and Health, Retail, Wine.
Its resilience will help us to get through this difficult period. In 2015-2016, numerous external growth projects were initiated in future business areas: animal nutrition additives, biocontrol in plant health, for example; as well as in countries with nurturable agricultural potential – Latin America, as well as Asia and Africa.
They will generate profitable opportunities for growth, help us make our contribution to agricultural challenges that need to be faced, and meet expectations related to food, in France and worldwide. Our investments in the internationalisation of all of our business areas and in innovation take us in this direction and will help solidify our business model.
You also decided to accelerate InVivo’s transformation. Why?
The “2025 by InVivo” strategic plan is on the right track. We have shown our ability to deploy new projects and deliver the expected results during these first two years. Therefore, the time has come to accelerate the group’s various transformations, its digital transformation in particular.
This is the objective of the “InVivo Tech 2020” process, which we have committed to in order to meet the challenges of the digitalisation of the agricultural and food industry world. Acquiring skills relative to new technologies and digital tools for business areas, cooperatives, and farmers will prove to be a tremendous lever for farmers to be able produce more and better.
What do you expect from the digitalisation and the development of new technologies for InVivo?
“InVivo Tech 2020” also marks the group’s cultural evolution. By being involved in the “2025 by InVivo” plan’s implementation, cooperatives, managers, and employees have put InVivo on a new trajectory. They have made it into an ambitious group and a company with an attractive future. “InVivo Tech 2020” will contribute to the development of this start-up spirit. Digital technology encourages an interdisciplinary approach between teams and networking, connecting our R&D and innovation centres with start-ups who are located on the outskirts of our business areas, but who will have an impact on our core business in the future.
The opening of We’nov, the global innovation centre of our animal nutrition and health division, Neovia, and the creation of the Neovia Venture investment fund, have paved the way for other business areas. The opening of the agro-digital studio using Smag, and the launch of the InVivo Invest fund, opens up new opportunities for InVivo Agriculture. Moreover, in order to provide more substance and a global vision to our CSR policy, we have just created an endowment fund InVivo Foundation, with the objective of supporting development projects in Africa and accross the world.
InVivo announces turnover of €6.4 billion (press release)