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Food Supplements Recover Covid Fatigue

For Intesa SP at pre-pandemic levels, + 8.6% exports 1 * Q.

Food supplements recover the fatigue of Covid. The sector in Italy in the first quarter of 2021 has already recovered to pre-pandemic levels. In the period considered, the trade surplus was close to 150 million euros, an increase of 8 million compared to the first quarter of 2019. This is what emerges from the sixth survey of the supply chain carried out by the Studies and Research Department of Intesa Sanpaolo.

The food supplements sector in recent years, globally, has experienced strong growth: it has gone from a total turnover of 21 billion dollars in 2007 to 45 billion in 2019 (+ 113%). In this context, Italy's position among exporting countries is good: in 2019 our country ranks eighth with 1.25 billion euros in exports, holds a market share of 3.1% and achieves a largely positive trade balance (625 million). The sector showed good resilience during the pandemic. Italian exports contained losses to 4.2% in 2020 (against -9.7% of the total economy) but, above all, recorded a rebound in the first quarter of 2021, showing an increase of 8.6% ( + 4.6% the total economy), also above the levels recorded at the beginning of 2019 and better than French and German competitors.

According to the survey, behind these numbers is a core of highly competitive firms. Almost six out of ten companies were set up after 2000, precisely in correspondence with the emergence of a trade surplus in the sector. These are far more dynamic companies than the rest of the Italian economy and with excellent margins. Companies specializing in the production of food supplements in 2019 showed an EBITDA margin of 14.6%, two percentage points more than the 12.6% of pharmaceuticals and six points more than manufacturing. This, according to the research, is explained by the greater propensity of these companies to invest in intangible levers - innovation in the first place - and to enhance human capital, as well as with the presence of supply chains well rooted in the territory.

The incidence of intangible fixed assets is in fact equal to 3.5% among companies producing food supplements, five times as much the values recorded in the average of Italian manufacturing. The added value per employee is equal to 88 thousand euros among the production companies in the sector (in manufacturing it stops at 53 thousand). The good strategic positioning is accompanied by financial and equity solidity: the incidence of cash on assets rose to 8.4% (from 1.5% in 2008) and shareholders' equity accounts for 37% of the passive (from 21% in 2008). These are therefore companies that have the resources to keep their investment commitment high over the next few years.

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EFA News - European Food Agency