"2019 was a year rich in innovations and developments for the future"
What is your assessment of 2019?
2019 was an important year for the Group, both in France and internationally; firstly from a financial point of view because after two difficult years, Avril recovered its positive dynamic.
Our results were in line with the goals of our Avril 2023 plan and I would indeed like to congratulate all our teams; without them this achievement would not have been possible in any of the countries where we operate. It was also a year rich in innovations and developments for the Group's future. In January the purchase of the German firm Lecico enabled us to become the global leader in non-GMO lecithin. Later on in the year, our association with Terrena to create a complete organic value chain using French oilseed grain - Oleosyn Bio - was another example of our ambitions. Our plans regarding protein are ongoing and we have achieved a global breakthrough: the extraction of rapeseed protein for human foods in the context of our partnership with DSM. Finally, the stake taken by Suez in Terrial gave rise to the French leader in organic fertilization.
You have also announced the reorganization of some activities?
To keep on course with our strategic plan, we are accelerating the transformation of two of our businesses in the context of profound changes to their markets. We have decided to focus the activities of Saipol on French grain and four industrial sites so as to target more sustainable and better valorized production. In March 2020, Matines announced a reorganization plan that included investment to modernize the Naizin site. The aim is to enhance our competitiveness and accelerate our offer of alternative eggs. We believe more than ever in the potential of this sector, working alongside our livestock farmer partners.
What about the growth of the Group?
In 2020, Avril is celebrating five years of its new legal structure. In just a few years, we have built a Group that ranks fourth in the French agrifood industry. We can be proud of what we have accomplished. This transformation is on-going, notably with respect to governance and cultural changes. The Comex welcomed two new members as a result of internal promotion, and I am delighted with these appointments. We are working on our local roots and relationships with stakeholders. We have thus set up the Avril Communities program with our site directors in order to reinforce our local and regional roots, and earlier this year we initiated a Stakeholders Committee to broaden our dialog on societal challenges. Finally, we shall be deploying our leadership model in order to support our managers and continue building our common culture.
What is the next step?
For several months we have been working on our “raison d'être” (purpose), in line with our desire to have a stronger societal impact. This will also allow our colleagues to express what they feel about their everyday activities and their pride in participating collectively in the Avril project. This is essential, and the crisis we are currently experiencing has demonstrated its value. The commitment of our teams has been total.
At our sites or working from home, they have stepped up to guarantee the continuity of our activities, essential to the lives of our fellow citizens. Once again, I would like to thank them and acknowledge their remarkable efforts. The responsibilities that drive our community are decisive. That is the sense of our current thinking and how Avril will continue to produce solutions at the service of agricultural, food and ecological transitions, by creating value throughout the sector.