Strong margin improvement at BIC

BIC’s Human Expression division grew its year-on-year adjusted operating margin by 390 basis points in the first quarter of 2024.

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BIC’s Human Expression division grew its year-on-year adjusted operating margin by 390 basis points in the first quarter of 2024.

The division’s adjusted EBIT jumped from €2.4 million in Q1 2023 to €9.2 million this year, with margin growing from 1.4% to 5.3%. The company said this was driven by significant gross profit improvement, with favourable pricing, mix and currency fluctuations. Unfavourable fixed cost absorption and higher brand support investments had a negative impact.

Human Expression’s revenue for the quarter was €173.8 million ($186 million). This was 2% lower as reported versus Q1 2023, but a 3.9% increase on a constant currency basis (excluding Argentina).

Below is BIC’s commentary for the quarter by region:

In Europe, net sales grew low double-digits, boosted by geographical expansion through distribution gains across Eastern and Western Europe in both online and offline channels, with robust growth in France, Italy and Poland. Our iconic 4-Color pen continued to drive growth, leveraging new collections (such as the 4-Color Gradient and the 4-Color Olympic Games decor). During the quarter, BIC gained 90 bps of market share in value in France, driven by Coloring, and maintained its number one position in the UK.

In the US, performance was driven by growth from both core, such as Ball Pen and Highlighter, and added value segments, such as Gel, all increasing by over 20% in net sales. BIC maintained its market share in value, driven by innovative recent products, such as the Gel Quick Dry and the Break Resistant Mechanical Pencil, as well as core segments in Mechanical Pencils and Correction.

In Latin America, net sales performance was solid in Mexico through favourable volume, price and mix, as well as key segments such as Ball Pens and Coloring, which posted double digit growth. This was partially offset by a softer performance in Brazil.

In Middle East and Africa, performance was stable, with a strong back-to-school sell-in in South Africa and Kenya.

Paris, France