France-based BIC Group, the parent company of Top 40 supplier BIC Graphic (asi/40480), decreased its revenues by 1.1% in the second quarter to reach 616 million euros ($683 million). On a comparative basis (taking into account exchange rates and excluding acquisitions and other events), sales increased by 4.2%. The company’s net promotional product sales decreased 2.7% in the second quarter but increased by 0.3% on a comparative basis.
For the half-year, BIC decreased its revenues by 0.1% in the first half of 2016 to reach 1.1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) but increased by 5.4% on a comparative basis. “[Half-year] results are in line with our full-year 2016 outlook, with solid net sales growth on a comparative basis across all consumer categories and regions, notably in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” said Bruno Bich, CEO of BIC Group, in a press release.
BIC Graphic experienced promotional product net sales growth of 0.8% in the first half of 2016 and 2.3% on a comparative basis. The company said its “Good Value” line and new products drove growth in both hard goods and writing instruments segments. “What we see in Graphic are really two main drivers of helping the margin versus a year ago,” said Jim DiPietro, chief financial officer, in an earnings call. “We see lower manufacturing costs, more favorable manufacturing efficiencies and variances being roughly half of the increase or benefit change versus a year ago. The other half is coming out of operating expenses, with some changes to help reduce cost.”
In February, BIC announced it would be exploring strategic alternatives for BIC Graphic and its promotional product business, with a decision to come by the end of the year. In announcing its Q2 earnings, the company stated that the review of strategic alternatives was proceeding as planned.
For the full year, the company reaffirmed mid-single digit growth in net sales on a comparative basis. For the second half of the year, Bich said, “we will continue to invest in R&D and brand support in order to fuel medium-and long-term growth and we remain confident of achieving our full year objectives.”