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Finnish dairy group Valio saw its sales increase by 1.2% in 2020, as the drop in food service sales was tempered by the increase in my exports.

Valio Group net sales in 2020 amounted to € 1.8 billion, up 1.2% from the previous year, with national net sales down 0.9% and net sales international markets increased by 4.3%.

He said the coronavirus pandemic had affected domestic consumption and was visible in the growth in retail sales and the decline in sales of HoReCa (hotel, restaurant and food service).

However, during the difficult year, Valio was able to improve milk yield slightly.

Annikka Hurme, CEO of Valio, commented: “Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Valio achieved good financial performance and milk yield continued to grow. I am particularly proud of the fact that, despite a difficult year, we were able to guarantee the health and well-being of our employees, and we were able to maintain normal production and excellent delivery reliability.

“One of our strengths is the flexible production capacity, so we were able to quickly switch from producing large packaging designed for restaurants to consumer packaging. In addition, demand in our export markets has increased, despite the pandemic. “

He said the purchasing power of domestic consumers had weakened during the coronavirus pandemic, so he launched more items under the Valio Hyvä suomalainen Arki brand.

The market for herbal products also continued to grow. Valio Oddlygood Barista saw strong sales in the domestic market, while during the year Valio launched Shredded Valio Oddlygood Veggie, which is used as cheese.

Net sales from international operations totaled 746 million euros, with growth being strongest in China, where demand recovered quickly from the shock of the coronavirus in early 2020, and net sales increased by more than 40% compared to the previous year.

“Despite the growth, Valio is a small player in China. Our most important task is to further improve the profitability of exports and strengthen the recognition of our products and our brand, ”said Hurme.

Net sales growth in neighboring markets of Sweden, Estonia and Russia was moderate. In the United States, the pandemic caused sharp price fluctuations, which weakened financial performance, but net sales remained at a reasonable level. After falling at the start of the year, the world market price for milk powders started to rise towards the end of the year.

Valio’s overall milk margin stood at 861 million euros, up from 838 million euros last year, while the milk yield was 41.5 cents per liter (41.2 c / l) .

Throughout the 2000s, Valio was able to pay Finnish milk producers a higher price for milk than the European average.

In line with the strategic directions, Valio will continue to invest in further growth, operational efficiency and improved profitability in 2021. Due to contract production, there has been a moderate decline in raw milk volumes since the beginning of the year.

He said the coronavirus pandemic continues to make operations difficult for customers in restaurants, hotels and industrial kitchens. On the other hand, retail demand is at a good level.

He added that the market situation for butter and milk powders looks positive overall and sees potential for growth especially in the value-added powders sector in China and elsewhere in Asia.

Hurme added: “A key question regarding product exports, as well as the import of ingredients and supplies, is whether international borders will remain open. The strength of Valio is that milk, the most important ingredient in our products made in Finland, is produced locally, on the dairy farms of the Valio owners. The products are manufactured in 12 factories, which helps to ensure security of supply. Valio also plays an important role in Finland in ensuring food safety, and in all of our operations we aim to serve customers and consumers in the best possible way.

Morning update

Love Hemp Group, the UK listed supplier of CBD and hemp products, announced the appointment of James Martin as COO, Anna Legge as Director of Communications and Martin Healy as Director of Growth , with immediate effect.

James Martin has over 15 years of experience driving strategic operational excellence and large-scale business transformation programs in a number of industries including fast-moving consumer goods, technology, pharmaceuticals. and health care. He previously worked for companies such as Shell, Vodafone, GlaxoSmithKline and PwC.

Anna Legge was previously Director of Communications for SolGold, listed in London and Toronto. Prior to that, Anna worked at a large international communications agency advising companies such as Mulberry, Centrica, Bunnings and UP Global Sourcing.

Martin Healy was previously Head of Advertising Sales and Partnerships at The Walt Disney Group and, prior to that, Commercial Director for ESPN in the Middle East.

CEO Tony Calamita commented, “I am delighted to welcome James, Anna and Martin to the growing leadership team of Love Hemp Group. They each bring significant experience in their respective areas of expertise, with the ability to execute the dynamic and impactful strategies required to develop the Love Hemp brand and our investment profile.

“Our ability to continually attract talent of this caliber is a testament to our already established market presence and our significant growth potential. Love Hemp Group is at a crossroads in the development of the company as we move towards a main market listing on the London Stock Exchange. This important step will better reflect our profile and our ambitions. We create the foundations to build our brand internationally and increase the company’s corporate profile.

Listed palm oil producer MP Evans updated the market ahead of his AGM later today.

He said the harvest of fresh fruit bunches for the five months ended May 31, 2021 was 342,100 tonnes from estates controlled by the group, some 24% more than the 275,900 tonnes recorded for the same period in 2020.

The harvests of peasant cooperatives associated with the Group’s new projects increased by 43% to 100,800 tonnes.

Overall, the Group’s crops continue on an upward trend resulting from the young average age of the Group’s plantations with increasing yields as they mature.

The Group produced the equivalent of 132,400 tonnes of crude palm oil in the first five months of 2021, including 104,800 tonnes in its own mills, the balance being the content of ffb oil sold by the group to third mills.

This represents an increase of 25% from the 106,000 tonnes produced during the equivalent period in 2020.

The average CPO price for the first five months of the year was US $ 1,127 per tonne, significantly higher than US $ 659 per tonne during the equivalent period in 2020.

However, the introduction of an Indonesian export levy in December 2020 meant that this increase was only reflected to a limited extent in the price actually received by the group leaving the factory.

Nevertheless, over the period until the end of May 2021, the Group achieved an average ex-factory price of 715 USD per tonne compared to 550 USD per tonne in 2020, an increase of 30%.

“The increasing maturity of its planted areas and the application of high operating standards mean that the board of directors is confident in its ability to ensure crop growth, which forms the basis for improved results and production. ‘a growing dividend,’ he said.

In view of the strong performance achieved to date, the board of directors still intends to recommend a dividend of 30p per share for 2021.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 rose 0.3% to 7 105.3 pts this morning.

The gains include Bakkavor, up 3.9% to 138.8p, Wynnstay, up 3.3% to 449.4p and Naked Wines, up 1.4% to 782p.

Fallers so far include SSP Group, down 1.8% to 297p, WH Smith, down 1.9% to 1750p and Sainsbury’s, down 1.8% to 257.5p.

Yesterday in the city

The FTSE 100 ended a three-day rally falling 0.2% to 7,081 pts yesterday.

The SSP Group closed the day down 1.9% at 302.3p after the owner of Upper Crust collapsed to pre-tax losses of £ 300million in the first half, current restrictions on coronaviruses having wiped out income.

Other falls included Bakkavor, down 4.6% to 133.6p, McColl’s Retail Group, down 3.4% to 35.8p, Marks & Spencer, down 3% to 159.3p, Hotel Chocolat, down 2.4% to 361p, AG Barr, down 2% to 529p, Kerry Group down 1.6% to € 107.70 and Deliveroo down 1.5% to 249, 6p.

Today’s risers included Science in Sport, up 4.4% to 84p, McBride, up 2.7% to 91.8p, Nichols, up 2.5% to 1640p, Domino’s Pizza Group, up 2% to 392p, Just Eat Takeaway.com, up 1.8% to 6,696p and Diageo, up 1.3% to 3,460p.