In the Western Europe region, sales were driven by the robust volume momentum of Bel’s core brands. This very satisfactory performance resulted from efforts by the sales and marketing teams to provide consumers with wholesome, practical and appealing products.
The sales decline in North and East Europe stemmed solely from the negative impact of foreign exchange fluctuations. On a comparable basis, the region’s Q1 2014 sales were flat versus the prior-year period, underscoring the Group’s strong resilience in those markets, despite difficulties arising from the tense situation in Ukraine.
Sales in the Americas, Asia-Pacific region were negatively affected by foreign exchange variations. Adjusted for that impact, the region’s sales continued to grow, albeit at a moderate pace.
In the Near and Middle East region, the year got off to a remarkably strong start, with continued double-digit sales growth after adjusting for the foreign exchange impact. This performance was achieved despite persistent distribution difficulties in some of the region’s markets.
The Greater Africa region also continued to grow during the quarter, reporting robust sales growth at constant exchange rates.
Outlook for 2014
At the beginning of the year, market conditions remained challenging, with raw material prices at historical highs, significant foreign exchange volatility and continued political instability in some world regions.
With these economic and political factors weighing on its short-term profitability, the Group is pursuing its efforts to strengthen its operating excellence.
Bel remains confident about its growth prospects, thanks to the broad geographical spread of its activities and the strength of brands and products in tune with the Group’s various markets.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements. Such trend and/or target information should in no way be regarded as earnings forecast data or performance indicators of any kind. This information is by nature subject to risks and uncertainties that may be beyond the Company’s control. A detailed description of these risks and uncertainties is provided in the Company’s Registration Document, available at (www.groupe-bel.com). More comprehensive information about the Bel Group can be found in the “Regulatory Information” section of the www.groupe-bel.com website.