SWITZERLAND – Swiss milk processor and dairy products company, Emmi has reported 2.8% rise in group sales to US$3.45 billion in the year 2018 with organic growth 2.3% organic growth, the highest increase since 2014.

The America’s business division, which contributed to 30.2 % of group sales led the growth trajectory, recording 10% increase in sales from US$952 million in the previous year to US$1.04 billion, offset by currency and acquisition effects.

In 2017, Emmi increased its stake in Mexican packaged food distributor Mexideli from 50% to 51% as part of strategy to expand international presence in specialty cheeses.

Strong performance was experienced in dairy products, fresh products and cheese segments with Tunisia, Chile and the US posting increased sales while Spain saw an increase in sales of Emmi Caffè Latte.

This was negatively impacted by price war on private label yogurts in Spain and in the packaged cheese segment in France.

“We are pleased that we have achieved significant organic growth. With the focus on brand expansion, the good performance of niche areas such as Italian speciality desserts and goat’s milk products, and the upswing in the emerging markets of Tunisia, Chile and Mexico, we are also achieving the right quality of growth.

We anticipate that the acquisitions made in recent years will continue to strengthen our sales performance,” said Emmi CEO Urs Riedener.

In Europe, the dairy company bought desserts company Italian Fresh Foods whose acquisition and currency effects impacted on European division sales, which rose by 5.2% during the period.

The business performance however, exceeded Emmi’s August trajectory of 2-4% organic sales growth.

In the year, Emmi agreed to sell its 24 % stake in Italian fresh cheese specialist Venchiaredo S.p.A. to focus on dessert business, cheese exports from Switzerland and cheese trader Ambrosi S.p.A.

Growth in the division was attributed to higher sales of Emmi Caffè Latte and the Italian speciality desserts of all three dessert companies, which had a positive impact on the fresh products segment.

The cheese segment recorded a slightly negative organic performance overall, primarily due to lower sales of AOP cheese.

Sales growth was contributed by Kaltbach and Der Scharfe Maxx brands in Germany while, sales of organic milk from Gläserne Molkerei were subdued, leading to a decline in the dairy products segment.

Switzerland which accounted for 49.6 % of sales posted 1% decline from US$1.73 billion to US$1.71 billion.

This reflected the divestment effects resulting from the sale of part of the trading goods business to Coop. at the beginning of 2018.

In this market, dairy products (milk, cream, butter) posted significantly higher sales, primarily as a result of higher milk prices.

3.2% rise in cheese imports was blamed for a slight increase in Luzerner Rahmkäse and Le Petit Chevrier cheese brands a decline in AOP cheese.