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Company update: InVivo

InVivo, the leading French farming cooperative group, posted revenue of €4.4 billion in 2009-2010, down 12.8% on the previous financial year.

The downturn was expected given the fall in agricultural raw materials prices and the extremely gloomy environment throughout the year for plant and animal production as a whole.
 
Consolidated net income of €27.7 million was identical to that of last year. Returns paid to the cooperatives before the closing of the year increased sharply, by 17.5% to nearly €55 million.
 
InVivo achieved satisfactory results despite the unfavourable agricultural situation in the 2009-2010 financial year.
 
The fall in grain and farming inputs prices and the difficulties of French farmers, together with the economic crisis, impacted the Group’s four activities: seeds and agricultural supplies, animal nutrition and health, international grain trading, and green distribution.
 
InVivo revenue fell 12.8% to €4.4 billion. The Group’s share of net income came to €27.7 million, stable on last year. In a particularly unfavourable agricultural context in France, this result can be attributed largely to the Group’s international activities, especially in animal nutrition, consistent with the growth strategy established by the Board of Directors.
 
Returns paid to the cooperatives rose a full 17.5% to a record €54.9 million. This increase is consistent with the objective set by InVivo three years ago to triple returns for cooperative members.
 
“Cooperatives are the cornerstone of InVivo,” said Patrice Gollier, Group CEO. “It is essential that an important share of the economic performance they have helped to generate is returned to them.”
 
Dual challenge
InVivo Agro is committed to meeting a dual economic and environmental challenge “We aim to contribute to the quantitative and qualitative development of agricultural production in France and internationally, thereby contributing to global food security while ensuring income for farmers and environmental protection,” said Patrice Gollier.
 
To meet this twofold economic and environmental challenge, InVivo Agro – with annual revenue of €1.345 billion in seeds, fertilisers, crop protection products and agricultural equipment – has made agronomics a core focus.
 
It works on all levers to develop the agriculture of the future, factoring the environment into the assignments of its farming advisers and decision-making tools and using indicators to measure the ecological impact of farming practices.
 
InVivo Agro has won a number of contracts on producing hydro-geological diagnoses and implementing action plans for restoring water quality in priority water capture supply basins.
 
Ecofarms
In partnership with Coop de France, Farre and Arvalis, numerous InVivo Agro partner cooperatives are working on a government objective to build a network of “Ecophyo farms” that will experiment the most efficient techniques for both reducing the use of phytosanitary products and limiting their economic and agro-environmental impact.
 
InVivo NSA on the right track
In animal nutrition and health, InVivo NSA reported revenue of €1.185 billion, of which 49% in France and 51% internationally. Its three activities, Complete Feed, Premix and Specialties, and Health and Hygiene, account respectively for 65%, 27% and 8% of global revenue. The results have improved considerably.
 
Competitiveness in France – a market in structural decline with industrial overcapacity – hinges on building regional alliances and optimising the production base.
 
Synergies are being generated between Evialis and InVivo partner feed-producing cooperatives. Several projects have already been completed, including the creation of Novial in Nord Picardie, Aliréa in Auvergne Rhône Alpes and, recently, Lorial in Alsace and Lorraine.
 
Internationally, and in South America and Asia in particular, InVivo NSA subsidiaries are pursuing their development and ensuring the sources of growth necessary to financing R&D budgets.
 
Three international subsidiaries, Malta Cleyton in Mexico, Evialis do Brasil and Guyomarc’h Vietnam, are reporting strong business growth. The feed volumes sold by these “three dragons” now exceed those sold in France.
 
InVivo Markets develops expertise
InVivo Markets is tasked with securing long-term market outlets for the crop production of partner cooperatives that falls outside their regular trading area.
 
It also develops innovative solutions to help these cooperatives manage volatility risks. In a lacklustre market, InVivo Markets revenue came to €1.5 billion, with 7 million tonnes of grain sold to third countries.
 
InVivo Markets rounded out its organisation structure in 2009-2010 with a market research and economic planning unit. In parallel, it strengthened its collaborative effort in this field with Toepfer and Gleadell, German and UK companies – in which InVivo holds a stake – working in the international trade of agricultural commodities.
 
InVivo Markets has also considerably developed its range of services. It now operates more than 40 “Market Clubs”, which enable cooperatives to help farmers understand and use futures markets.
 
The Sigma Terme subsidiary reported strong growth in business with a 75% leap in the number of contracts negotiated or cleared on Euronext.
 
Storage record
The Storage activity set a new record with 4.67 million tonnes loaded, up 14% year on year compared with the French average of just 4%.
 
Recent developments and major structuring projects
Two years after the acquisition of Evialis, InVivo is pursuing its growth dynamic in each of its activities. In July 2010 it signed a strategic agreement in the creation of new plant varieties with RAGT Semences, with a view to building a leading multi-species research and variety creation business with a European dimension.
 
In September it acquired the stocks owned by Sea Invest, a major European port handling group, in the main subsidiaries of Sodistock, a grain storage and distribution company. The acquisition of port silos in Nantes, Montoir and Blaye strengthen InVivo’s presence on France’s Atlantic coast, which is a major asset for developing grain exports to the international market.
 
In December it increased to 40% its holding in Intrade, which owns 50% of the capital of Toepfer International, a world leader in international grain trading, majority owned by US group, ADM.
 
On 1st January InVivo NSA grouped its two veterinary laboratories under Qalian.
 
The major initiative at the start of 2011 is the alliance project between Coop de France and InVivo. The aim is to develop a common framework for farming cooperation at national level, to be led by a single governance structure but keeping economic and federal activities clearly delineated. The project is scheduled to be completed by 30 June 2011.
 
 

Dick Ziggers

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