Bolstered by solid fundamentals supported by a long-term strategic vision and proximity with markets, we pursued our development in every place we operate, in spite of several unfavorable external factors. This situation is reflected by a significant increase in our sales, as well as a contraction in our net income, affected by one-off events. Its current level, below our objectives, requires that we measure our development in order to stimulate our capacity to generate cash and our profitability level, both of which guarantee our independence and capacity for growth.
The Field Seeds activity, as well as those related to our original region – the Limagne plain, in the center of France – experienced several simultaneous external factors, which masked excellent performances on the markets. The conjunction of a depression in worldwide agricultural markets, a heat wave during the corn flowering stage in Limagne and increased pressure by major retailers on their suppliers in France significantly impacted Limagrain Coop, Limagrain Europe, Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients and Jacquet Brossard. This unprecedented situation demonstrated the strong resilience that the backing of the Cooperative provides to a strong group. But this situation must absolutely be the exception.
Faced with these difficulties, the integrated chain expertise acquired in Limagne must remain a development lever that gives value to our capacity to differentiate ourselves through genetics and our mastery of its interaction with industrial processes.
The international development of the Cereal Ingredients and Bakery Products activities must take advantage of our know-how, such as Clean Label*, and our image as French baker.
The Vegetable Seeds activity had the best fiscal year in its history and strengthened its position as No. 2 worldwide by its growth in strategic crops while conquering new territories. This consolidation by successive steps – such as the acquisition of Genica in 2016 – demonstrated, once again, the relevance of its strategy.
In our competitive environment, planned megamergers are primarily motivated by the consolidation of the agro-chemistry industry. In seeds, these will significantly increase the size of the two leaders, without upsetting the rankings. We remain solidly at No. 4 worldwide. Of course, we need to reevaluate our position in relation to these new operators, but we remain at the top worldwide in vegetable seeds and wheat and are on our way to quickly becoming a worldwide player in corn seeds. Our access to a large diversity of proprietary genetics, the diversification of our portfolio in biotechnology, made possible especially through licensing agreements with Syngenta, as well as our locations on all significant markets on the planet allow us to look to the future with confidence.
* Development of improvers without additives for bakery products
Jean-Yves Foucault - Chairman of Limagrain
Emmanuel Rougier - CEO of Limagrain