Financial growth and solidarity in the annual balance sheet of Sollio Cooperative Group
Sales exceeded $8 billion despite a demanding context in 2019-2020
Montréal, February 25, 2021 - The exceptional events caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and several other significant events did not prevent Sollio Cooperative Group from pursuing its growth during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. In fact, consolidated sales stood at $8.152 billion, up $870 million over the previous fiscal year. Earnings before patronage dividends and income taxes reached $201 million, with equity and preferred shares of $2.033 billion and assets of $4.728 billion, up $848 million. Faithful to its cooperative business model, the satisfactory results for the year 2019-2020 allow Sollio Cooperative Group to return $40 million in patronage allocations and dividends to its members.
This performance demonstrates the strength of the cooperative identity and operational agility in the face of the challenges that were legion during the last financial year. COVID-19 brought about major changes in operations, such as the temporary closure of factories and the suspension of construction sites. Supply chains and markets were greatly disrupted, also requiring efforts by agricultural producers to adjust their production. This past year was also marked by a difficult harvest season in Eastern Canada, as well as the CN strike during the peak propane demand, followed by the rail blockade. The Port of Montreal strike also caused its share of logistical challenges.
Fortunately, the last year also saw more favourable winds. Thus, the hardware sector benefited greatly from the enthusiasm for renovation generated by the confinement. In addition, export markets for pork meat have been strong, particularly in China. Above all, it was a year that highlighted the importance of encouraging local purchasing and food self-sufficiency, while developing exports; a fundamental challenge for the economic balance of the regions and the country.
"In the midst of the pandemic, we have been working hard to continue to support producers in their vital business and serve our customers. We were able to be responsive and we managed to adapt operations for the benefit of farm families, local consumers and those in foreign markets," said Sollio Cooperative Group President Ghislain Gervais. "This powerful effort of commitment and mobilization is faithful to the values that animate our network and which, more than ever, take on their full meaning: responsibility and solidarity. »
Excellent performance for Food and Retail Division
The positive performance of Sollio Cooperative Group is mainly attributable to the Food Division (Olymel L.P.). These good results are mainly due to the recent acquisition of the Eastern fresh pork sector, combined with an increase in the meat margin. The reopening of the Chinese market in 2020, combined with strong demand in this market, contributed to this increase. This performance has compensated for the results of the sectors most strongly affected by COVID-19, notably the Food Service sector, which supplies the hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sectors.
In addition, the pandemic contributed strongly to a total increase in sales for the Retail Division (Group BMR), as a result of the impact of the confinement on the consumption habits of Canadians and the increase in margins caused by an increase in the cost of forest materials. The acquisition of a company operating in the building materials distribution and marketing sector in September 2019 also contributed to this growth.
However, the vagaries of nature, global geopolitics and market volatility have negatively affected the performance of the Agricultural Division (Sollio Agriculture). The latter experienced a decline mainly due to the unfavourable results of the grain sector. The poor maize harvest affected trade positions by preventing exports in the spring of 2020, while the effects of COVID-19 had a significant impact on ethanol demand. Soybean trading was hit hard due to the geopolitical situation, with negative impacts on exports.
Cooperation and collaboration in the spotlight
COVID-19 not only created uncertainty for many of the members and staff of the organisation, divisions and network of cooperatives, but also for the entire business environment of Sollio Cooperative Group.
"It is clear that our business model is resilient because it is based on a very strong culture of cooperation, collaboration and transparency," said Gaétan Desroches, CEO of Sollio Cooperative Group. "We have assumed our responsibilities as an essential service and major player in the agri-food chain with our high-performance model of sustainable value creation, meeting growth objectives and future challenges with a long-term vision. This certainly helps us to navigate through more turbulent times."
Finally, Sollio Cooperative Group is optimistic about the implementation of its new 2020-2025 strategic plan. While the new vision reinforces the organisation's role as a reference player both nationally and internationally, the new mission responds to the realities of today's society by integrating the concepts of prosperity and sustainability. In this regard, as a responsible organisation and reflecting its cooperative values, Sollio Cooperative Group has been able to demonstrate the solidarity of the network, among other things, through its commitment to the community. The launch of the From us to you initiative, which has been joined by 17 cooperatives in the network, is an example of this. This initiative made it possible to donate $550,000 in food and cash to organizations that help people in need. In addition, Sollio Cooperative Group is integrating six sustainable development objectives decreed by the United Nations into its new strategic plan: the fight against climate change, decent work and economic growth, the elimination of hunger, good health and well-being, water sanitation, and responsible consumption and production.
About Sollio Cooperative Group
We are Sollio Cooperative Group, Canada's largest agricultural cooperative with roots in Quebec. Since 1922, cultivating, raising, producing, transforming and building the economy of tomorrow are daily gestures that are part of the DNA of our 16,150 employees and the 7,000 workers of our affiliated cooperatives. With more than 123,000 members, agricultural producers and consumers grouped into 48 traditional agricultural and consumer cooperatives as well as two sections, one grouping Olymel's supplier pork producers and the other grouping independent BMR hardware dealers, Sollio Cooperative Group contributes to feeding people by ensuring the prosperity of farm families to ensure a sustainable future for the world. Through its three divisions - Sollio Agriculture, Olymel L.P. and Groupe BMR inc. - Sollio Cooperative Group proudly acts as a driving force for economic and social development rooted in the regions, generating $8.2 billion in sales (more than $11 billion including affiliated cooperatives). Our cooperative values are based on honesty, equity, responsibility and solidarity. Resolutely forward-looking, Sollio Cooperative Group adheres to the principles of sustainable development. By 2025, Sollio Cooperative Group wants to be recognized as a leading player in its sectors of retail sales in Canada, the North American agricultural sector, and the agri-food sector internationally. For more information, visit sollio.coop/. -30-