BIC Reports Mid-Year Financials

Company Is Parent Division Of Top 40 Supplier Norwood And BIC Graphic North America

BIC APPBIC APP, the parent division of Counselor Top 40 supplier Norwood (asi/74400) and BIC Graphic North America (asi/40480), has reported its sales fell 5.6% on a comparative basis to 127.2 million euros ($157.2 million) during the first six months of 2012. The decrease, an earnings statement showed, was largely the result of struggles in Europe, where BIC's ad specialty revenues dropped significantly. "In the U.S, sales were stable, in line with market trends," the company said. "In Europe, sales decreased double-digits, as we continued to suffer from the very challenging economic environment in Spain, Italy and Greece."

In the second quarter, BIC APP's revenues slipped 9.8%, a sharp contrast to the overall company sales of France-based BIC Group, which reported Q2 gains of 3.1%. BIC APP reported second quarter sales of 67.1 million euros ($83 million), while BIC Group announced its total company sales – which include stationery products, lighters, shavers and other consumer goods – were 500.8 million euros ($619 million).

"During the second quarter, and as anticipated, the pace of net sales growth has slowed down," said Mario Guevara, CEO of BIC Group. "For the balance of the year, our objective is to continue to reinforce our positions in this intensely competitive and still challenging economic environment."

In its earnings statement, BIC also noted positive change in BIC APP's income from operations, which was down 3.5% for the first half of 2011, but was up 2.7% during the same six-month period this year. The gains were made, the company said, as BIC and Norwood benefited "from the strong improvement of manufacturing efficiency related to the integration plan."

BIC APP, which includes Norwood and BIC Graphic North America, as well as Europe-based Antalis Promotional Products, now expects a "low to mid-single digit" decline in sales for 2012 on a comparative basis. Ranked by Counselor as the fourth-largest supplier in the industry, Norwood and BIC Graphic North America reported its 2011 sales fell to $350 million, down from $385 million in 2010.