I have had the privilege to lead Fazer over the past six months. I have been inspired by witnessing the commitment and strong values that guide our daily work. We are a strong company and I am convinced there are great opportunities ahead of us.
The year was a challenging one for Fazer, as economic development in our main markets remained strained. The confectionery market grew in Russia but declined in Finland and Sweden. The rise in private labels and shift in demand from fresh bread to bake-off resulted in a tough business environment for the bakery business. Consumer spending was weak and reductions in companies’ headcounts affected the food service business.
In difficult and changing times the best companies prevail. Developments during the year show that Fazer has the ability to expand its business even in adverse market conditions. The bakery business significantly increased its market share in Moscow, a growing market. Fazer’s confectionery brands expanded into biscuits and the results in Finland and Sweden far exceeded expectations. We also made major investments during the year such as Fazer’s acquisition of Skandinavisk Mat Invest (SMI) in Norway and the building of a new oat mill in Lahti, Finland.
The outlook for Fazer in 2014 is positive. We will continue to carry out our strategy and focus on leveraging our strong position in our main markets in all our businesses in 2014.
Positive developments in our businesses show that there is great potential for Fazer to expand in different markets and new segments, products and services.
- Christoph Vitzthum
We see potential to continue to enhance our operational excellence and raise the efficiency of our internal processes. We will also emphasise occupational safety and strive to further improve the quality of our products and services. For these efforts to be successful it is crucial that our employees remain motivated and have a clear understanding of what is expected from them.
Fazer has a great history, an outstanding brand portfolio, excellent products and a strong position in our main markets. This is a solid platform for further growth. In order to grow, we must constantly improve and innovate to remain the leading player in our markets. Consumer insight and understanding trends are foundations for success. Our goal is to be the preferred partner for our customers by understanding their needs and developing products with them and for them. In accordance with our strategy, we will continue to pursue growth in our main markets and to develop in new and interesting ones.
Quality is a competitive advantage for Fazer, one that we aim to preserve into the future. Quality Excellence is one of our core values, and part of the essence of our brand. Therefore it is something we cannot compromise on. Quality guides our daily work and is visible in everything we do. As a result, our customers experience Fazer quality when enjoying our products and services. By continually striving to exceed expectations, we uphold Karl Fazer’s legacy.
I am honoured to have been entrusted with the role of leading Fazer Group. I would like to acknowledge my predecessor Karsten Slotte for his contribution to Fazer over the past 17 years. I also want to thank our shareholders, customers, and personnel for their loyalty, commitment and contribution. With the continued support of our stakeholders, Fazer will be ready to meet the challenges and opportunities in the years to come.
President and CEO of the Fazer Group