Christine Holgate, first woman CEO of the year (2015) steers Blackmores towards Asia; reaping double the benefits almost instantly.
Blackmores (ASX: BKL) is a recognised natural health company created by Maurice Blackmore (1906-1977). He believed in the goodness of herbs and minerals which helped him develop a healthcare system based on naturopathic principles. His forward thinking view of natural health, preventive medicine and being environment friendly allowed him to become a leading pioneer in his field. He was credited to opening one of Australia’s first health food stores in Brisbane (1938) and establishing the first colleges in this field. Today, Maurice’s teachings are incorporated into the training programs of many natural health practitioners. Highly experienced naturopaths, chemists, scientists and product development pharmacists all work to produce high quality products to inspire people to invest in their wellbeing.
Blackmores’ CEO, Christine Holgate took on the responsibility to deliver profitable growth for the company, invest in Asia and BioCeuticals, secure new revenue growth streams for the organisation, create product leadership and to drive operational effectiveness. The clarity of these goals lead her to accomplish the recognition Blackmores needed. It has now become the largest and most trusted Austra- Asia Natural Health Group.
Blackmores stood with a a net profit of $76 million in the nine months to the end of March which is a 145 per cent increase, up from $31 million a year earlier.
Sales during that period jumped 63 per cent to $532 million. With sales in Asia rising 64 per cent to $98 million over the nine months, already exceeding sales for the entire prior year.
“Passing that $75m mark is a wonderful feeling. A continued strong contribution from Chinese consumers has supported this strong result,” Ms Holgate said.
The Blackmores – Chinese relationship began in 2013. Within a year Chinese demands increased so much that they opened an online store in china making Blackmores one of the first few global healthcare brands to set up an international online store on tmall.hk. In march, that same year the legendary Chinese tennis champion, Li Na, was recruited as their Global Brand Ambassador to support health and wellbeing activities through Blackmores. This created a stronger relationship with China as one of their own was playing such a significant role in the company.
“China is an important part of our growth strategy and I’m particularly pleased that even excluding the influence of Chinese consumers our group is growing underlying sales at 14%,” Ms. Holgate said.
Even though statistics have been encouraging, The Chinese Government’s regulatory developments for cross e- commerce trading has been a sudden hiccup for the company even though Ms Holgate remains positive.
“We believe Blackmores is well placed to manage the constant evolution of the Chinese regulatory landscape.” she mentions
“I am also encouraged to see further opportunity for Blackmores with the announcement of more ingredients approved for sale in the broader retail market in China. That is 22 more ingredients Blackmores can bring into that market, which is evidence of the Chinese government beginning to open up the retail path … getting more health products to the Chinese consumer.” she said
Even with all of Christine Holgate’s achievements in 2015. There are still strong competitors in the Chinese vitamin market, such as the global giants like Swisse, Pfizer, and Amway or even local competition such as Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL) and Vitaco Holdings Ltd (ASX: VIT) in some categories such as baby formula and supplements.
Blackmores shares closed up $4.55, or 3.08 per cent, at $152.29.