Uriach banks on innovation as lever for international growth

  • Uriach is a Consumer Healthcare benchmark in Europe with sales of €114Mn in this business area
  • Company is strengthening presence in Italy, where it is already among top five firms in self-care segment
  • Japan, Canada and Korea driving B2B area growth, spearheaded by Rupatadine antihistamine
  • Uriach ended 2018 with €196Mn in turnover, up 13% on previous year, and double-digit growth for sixth year in a row

Barcelona, 4 July 2019. – Uriach is positioning itself as a European Consumer Healthcare benchmark. Innovation as a lever to launch new differentials, consolidation on the Italian market and development of the business in Portugal are behind the growth in the company’s self-care health area, which posted sales of €114Mn, up 19% on 2018, making it the company’s strategic growth engine.

By market, Uriach’s Consumer Healthcare division recorded a 30% rise in turnover in Italy to post €42Mn. Last year’s acquisition of Progine and AR Fitofarma, companies specialising in the marketing of innovative food supplements promoted during medical visits, boosted Italian sales. “The commitment to grow in Italy has been a success. In just four years, we have entered the top five Consumer Healthcare companies in the country,” said Uriach chief executive Oriol Segarra. “Our roadmap to take us global consists of implementing what we have done in Italy and are doing in Portugal in other key countries on the continent, to become one of the major players in Europe.”

In Portugal, Uriach posted sales of €6Mn, a 25% rise on the previous year, following the same growth path the company has leveraged in Italy. “We prefer to grow in an organised fashion taking solid steps, becoming a leader in the countries we operate in rather than gaining a negligible foothold in many markets. Our goal is not to say we have subsidiaries in lots of countries, but that we are leaders in more strategic markets,” Oriol Segarra said.

For its part, the Spanish market continued to lead the division’s business with a total of €63Mn in sales, double average market growth in Spain for the year.

In addition to this boost by subsidiaries in key European countries, the Consumer Healthcare business also made a strong start in sales to the rest of the world in the form of distribution agreements. Here mention must be made of the Fisiocrem marketing agreements in Latin America, the ones for Laborest products (Uriach’s Italian subsidiary) in different countries, and the entry of the Aquilea and Innovage brands on the Chinese market through eCommerce Tmall, a platform of the Alibaba behemoth. A final format driving the growth in Consumer Healthcare are agreements with companies in other countries to jointly market the Uriach portfolio, for example Greece and Romania, potential new subsidiaries going forwards, where these activities have already begun.

 

Innovation and collaboration as pillars of growth

The company has focused the development of the Consumer Healthcare division on innovation in processes and in the product that reaches the consumer, allowing Uriach to expand its portfolio with the market launch of innovative and pioneering products. These include Aquilea Colesterol, the only natural product that lowers cholesterol by acting on its three main causes, and Cannabix, a topical cream containing Cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant, as the main active ingredient, among others. “Uriach has been innovating for more than 180 years; otherwise it would never have survived this long. It is part of our DNA and in the era of innovation we must boost this disruptive character the company has had from the start. We innovate in order to stand out from our competitors, not just in products but in processes and, above all, in culture and people,” the CEO said.

In that regard, the company is focused on open innovation projects (e.g. bootcamps  to generate and develop ideas internally and promote intra-entrepreneurship, or the construction of a “radar” to detect innovation where it happens, what startups are investigating around the world, etc., in collaboration with other sector companies in other countries) and collaboration projects with leading companies in other sectors (OpenBridge methodology to develop collaborative ideas), with which it exchanges knowledge in order to find new solutions to improve its activity and offer consumers a better product. Commitment to innovation is a cornerstone and one of the principal weapons for delivering on the strategic objectives that have begun to bear fruit, such as company products being awarded -for the third year in a row- Product of the Year due to the innovation they entail (the latest to be added to this list is Aquilea Colesterol).

In addition to the new launches, there is the strong organic growth of brands such as Aquilea®, Fisiocrem®, Aero-Red®, Biodramina®, Innovage® and Halibut®, among others, enabling Uriach to continue with its broad portfolio and consolidate its Consumer Healthcare strategic objectives.

 

Rupatadine consolidates in Japan

The company´s other major area, B2B, based on the marketing of prescription molecules, active ingredients and generics developed by Uriach R&D through licensing and distribution agreements, posted turnover of €82Mn, a 5% rise on the previous year. In this division, the core focus of growth over the past year has been the development of the new markets where Rupatadine was recently launched, mainly Japan, as well as other countries including Canada and Korea. The success the product has had in more than 60 countries was repeated on these new markets, especially Japan (the world’s largest market for antihistamine products) where it is sold by pharma firm Mitsubishi Tanabe, a market leader with ambitions to make it the leading product in the country. Rupatadine’s good performance in Canada and other countries is also driving continual product growth despite the emergence of generics in Europe.

The combination of the Consumer Healthcare and B2B markets gives Uriach a significant international presence, with sales in more than 70 countries in the world’s leading regions. 2018 sales outside Spain accounted for nearly 60% of the company’s total turnover, more than double that of just five years ago when they came in at just over 25%.

 

2018 Results

Through growth in its two business divisions, Uriach closed the 2018 financial year with turnover of €196Mn, up 13% on the previous year. Ebitda came to €41 million. This result delivered on the forecasts of the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, which aims to achieve turnover of €300Mn and increase the firm’s direct presence in Europe.

 

People at the heart of operations

Uriach understands people as a key plank in the organisation’s growth, one that drives cultural change and which is a lever for transforming corporate culture. The company currently has more than 1,000 employees, having onboarded around 200 professionals last year (partly as a result of acquisitions). Uriach’s people-management initiatives and policies contributed to it obtaining the 2019 Top Employers certificate for the third year in a row, recognition given to organisations that provide an outstanding work experience to their employees.

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