In 2013, we strengthened our position as a leading global hygiene and forest products company and displayed a strong performance in terms of our strategic priorities: growth, innovation and efficiency. We became the majority shareholder in the Chinese tissue company Vinda during the year. Our extensive efficiency programs delivered according to plan and we can reflect back on a year of favorable sales growth and improved profitability.
Importance of growth
The world’s population is growing and aging. Combined with a higher standard of living, this is resulting in increased demand for hygiene products, which is creating favorable growth opportunities for SCA. SCA plans to continue on its current path of profitable growth in both mature and emerging markets, primarily through organic growth but also through acquisitions. Our long-term goal is to hold a leading position in each of our product segments in all markets in which we operate. Our sales growth in 2013 was good and, excluding exchange rate effects and divestments, amounted to 10%, of which organic growth accounted for 3%.
Mature markets offer the most significant growth opportunities in incontinence products as a result of their aging population and limited use of these products. I believe that we also have the potential to expand our product range by adding new products. Our new wash gloves and urinary tract infection tests (see page 32) are excellent and innovative examples of this.
We expect that most of our future growth will occur in emerging markets. During 2013, we made an offer for Vinda, China’s third largest tissue company, in which we already held a minority share. We achieved a majority shareholding in the company, making China SCA’s most important emerging market. Our aim is to develop a collaboration with Vinda and utilize its extensive and strong distribution network.
During the year, we established operations in India, a market with a growing middle class where the consumption of hygiene products is currently low, which offers considerable future potential. We launched our Libero baby diapers and Tempo consumer tissue. We are investing in a production plant for hygiene products in Southwest India, where production is expected to commence in 2015.
Read more in the annual report for 2013.
//Jan Johansson, President and CEO