Hero Group registers strong 12.5% organic growth
- Strong growth in Net Sales, EBIT, Net Income
- Gross Margin drops amid high inflation
- Sustainability an integral part of the Group’s Annual Report
Lenzburg, March 24, 2023 – The Hero Group, on a mission to delight consumers by conserving the goodness of nature, today announces an organic growth of 12.5% in the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022. The Group reports Net Sales of CHF 1.2 billion and an operating profit (EBIT) of CHF 40.3 million, up from CHF 34.1 million the previous year. Net Income increased to CHF 26.8 million compared to CHF 9.0 million in the year 2021 which was impacted by extraordinary effects.
The positive results come in a challenging year impacted by high inflation and the consequences of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
˝The strength of our brands and resilience of our business model were put to the test in 2022. In light of high cost inflation in raw and packaging materials, and energy, we had to implement price increases. Within this context, we were pleased that our consumers stayed loyal to our brands and products, resulting in a flat volume development and a broad based sales growth across our categories and countries,” said Rob Versloot, CEO Hero Group.
All regions in which the Group operates reported double-digit growth, as did two of our core categories – Baby & Toddler Food (+13.6%) and Healthy Snacks (+24.6%). Our third core category – Natural Spreads – was also up 7.3%. In 2022, the core product categories contributed 73% to the Group’s Net Sales and almost 80% to the organic sales growth.
“While we were able to increase prices, we did not pass on the total cost inflation impact to our customers. As a consequence, we saw our gross margin decline by 180 basis points from 31.1% in 2021 to 29.3% in 2022,” commented Karsten Boyens, CFO Hero Group. “By keeping other operating cost areas under control, we benefited from scale effects and improved our operating profit, overcompensating adverse foreign exchange effects with the devaluation of many currencies against the Swiss franc.”
The Group’s Net Debt increased to CHF 184.4 million in 2022, compared with CHF 163.4 million the prior year. This increase was related to the purchase of the remaining shares of Hero’s German baby food company goodforgrowth GmbH with the brand Freche Freunde. With an EBITDA of CHF 85.0 million (CHF 79.5 million in 2021), Hero’s Net Debt / EBITDA ratio stood at 2.2, a similar level as the year before. Overall, the balance sheet structure remained stable and comfortably meets the financial covenants.
In a first for the Hero Group, the GRI-based Sustainability report has been included as an integral part of the Annual Report for 2022. The sustainability section shows the work carried out over the past years and the start of the implementation of our long-term sustainability strategy.
The Hero Group Annual Report 2022 can be accessed here.
About Hero Group
The Hero Group is an international food company focused on branded nutritional food products. The company was founded in 1886 in Lenzburg, Switzerland, where its headquarters are still located today. Hero's main product categories of Baby & Toddler Food, Natural Spreads, and Healthy Snacks are complemented by its activities in Baby & Toddler Milk, Gluten Free and Specialties. The Group, which lives by its mission to delight consumers by conserving the goodness of nature, boasts a global footprint and its portfolio consists of many well-known international and local brands. In 2022, the Group generated revenues of CHF 1.2 billion.
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