As the “Pioneering Partner for Peptides”, Bachem’s position as market leader is secure. By focusing group-wide on our core peptide business, we are consistently pursuing our goal of remaining the best in this field worldwide. With the market and competitive environment continuing to present challenges, Bachem achieved its sales and profit growth targets once again in fiscal year 2018. Though we got off to a difficult start in the first half of the year, the fall-off in sales caused by project delays was offset by a sharp rise in the second half. As a result, sales growth came to 8.0% for the year as a whole. Sales of active substances continued to develop encouragingly. The new chemical entities (NCE) product category, which is crucial to our future success, grew by over 20%. Bachem again succeeded in significantly boosting its operating profit in 2018. Profit from operations increased by 8.3% over the prior year while the EBIT margin reached 19.4%. Supported by positive currency effects, net profit rose by 11.7%.
For the next few years, we are confident that sales in local currencies will continue to grow steadily in line with our long-term forecast of 6-10% per year. With our newly founded local branch in Japan, we also want to derive greater benefit from the fastgrowing Asian markets. We continue to give earnings growth precedence over sales growth. One factor we expect to contribute to higher profits in the coming years is the implementation of our digitalization and automation projects.
Moreover, as part of a strategic assessment, we have identified the market for therapeutic oligonucleotides as an option for augmenting and broadening our portfolio. Although their chemical structure differs significantly from that of peptides, we see considerable potential for synergies in terms of manufacturing and customer ties. Together with a team of specialists, therefore, we plan to build up a new pipeline of oligonucleotide projects in the next few years. We see these activities as complementing the core peptides business and believe they have the potential in the medium term to become a parallel – and equally strong – mainstay of our business.
In the light of the results we have achieved plus our continuing good prospects and our financial stability, the Board of Directors will propose at the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of 2.75 CHF per share be paid.