Shaping the future of animal health
Virbac group

report 2015


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2015, a difficult year for Virbac
  • What is your view of the past year?

    2015 was marked in January by the interruption of operations in the St. Louis manufacturing site in the United States, a decision taken at the end of 2014 following an inspection by the FDA (Food and drug administration). This event has, of course, had a significant impact on our profits. Outside the United States, our growth was lower than predicted in Latin America, in Brazil and in Uruguay as well as Chile where our sales of salmon vaccines fell. In France we have experienced, as did all players in the market, a decline in our sales of antibiotics following measures contained in the French agriculture law. Fortunately, we have also had significant reasons to be satisfied.

    In the United States, we are particularly pleased at the manner in which we have been able to recruit and integrate certain commercial teams formerly at Novartis, which has allowed us to advance with the Sentinel brand (range of internal parasiticides for dogs), acquired at the start of the year, both in terms of dollars and in market share. We have also experienced very good growth in the Asia-Pacific area: India continues its double-digit growth and now constitutes one of the Group's main subsidiaries, with a sales of around €70 million; our companion animal activities are taking off in China, even if the market remains modest. Lastly, we are very pleased with our new product launches in Europe, particularly Milpro and Effitix, parasiticides for companion animals.

    The observations made in the inspection report concerned the quality system; they drove us to interrupt operations in order to put in place all the necessary corrective measures. These were, notably, translated into management renewal, substantial reinforcement of the quality assurance teams and manufacturing operations, re-formulation of procedures, implementation of intensive training programmes and new information systems as well as the use of specialised consultants and making regular reports to the FDA. Today, we are continuing our efforts in a number of areas to bring the site up to the required standard. In the meantime, the manufacture of licensed products, Iverhart Plus (internal parasiticide for dogs) and Equimax (broad-spectrum horse wormer) were resumed, although only at the year's end. The resulting decrease in sales, together with the cost of all these measures, led to a significant loss in the United States where we were anticipating, on the contrary, a jump in profitability with the integration of the Sentinel brand in our portfolio. 

    In the United States, we are obviously counting on steady growth in sales. Our historical portfolio (excluding Sentinel which will grow modestly) must rebound strongly, without reaching their 2014 level. Some products will not be reintroduced and others must be subject to modification in their regulatory dossiers before their reintroduction onto the market. This requires first that the St. Louis site has been subjected to a new and satisfactory, inspection by the FDA. In Europe, we expect moderate growth, in line with that of the market. Our activities must continue to be well directed in the Asia-Pacific area and we count on an improvement in Brazil notwithstanding the economic crisis. However, we are more reserved in our consideration of aquaculture in Chile, the salmon subsidiary was perturbed by problems both economic (competition with the Norwegian farms in certain key markets, reduction in Brazilian demand, reduction in production) and health-related (considerable use of antibiotics). The result of these different developments will be organic growth of about 7%. 

    The anticipated rebound of the range of American legacy products will lead to a strong improvement in the margin in the United States, as at group level. We also anticipate stabilisation of quality-associated expenses at group level, after their 2015 increase. We expect to maintain our ratio of R&D expenses to sales. As a result, we envisage a return to a ratio of adjusted operating income to sales of more than 10%. Profitability must again progress substantially in the United States in the coming years with the return to the market of most of our historic portfolio and the launch of new products. In terms of finances, we are targeting an indebtedness of about €50 million by the end of the year, which will occur during the second half of the year taking account of our usual profile of generation and use of cash during the year.

Sales split by area
  • Global
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • North America
  • Asia
  • Pacific
  • Africa
    & Middle East
Répartition CA mondialRépartition CA mondial
Balanced governance to support Group’s development

The principles on which Virbac bases its governance are those that provide the balance required for the Group’s performance and successful development.

  • Separation of powers and collegiality

    Since 1992, there has been a clear separation between Virbac’s strategic and operational management functions, exercised by the executive board, and supervision of this management function, devolved to the supervisory board. 

    This structure meets the desire to establish a balance of power between the executive and supervisory functions. It involves a regular and effective dialogue between the executive board and the supervisory board, as well as mutual trust.

    Collegiality is a key organisational principle in Virbac’s governance. Its two governing bodies, the supervisory board and the executive board, operate on the basis that their respective members seek common positions and take collective decisions, working as real team. 

  • Committed and experienced management

    Virbac’s governance is based on enhanced governing bodies, composed of members with a strong and long-term level of commitment. Their professional experience covers many of the aspects involved in the day-to-day management of a major international group. 

    With the exception of its vice-chairwoman, all of the supervisory board’s members are corporate executives with extensive operational management experience. Virbac’s management, whether members of its supervisory board or members of its executive board, is committed to providing sustained support for the Group’s long-term strategy. Moreover, the involvement of supervisory board members and the non-voting advisor is not limited to their participation in formal board debates. Their involvement also includes regular informal discussions and periodic ad hoc meetings if circumstances so require.

  • Continual improvements to governance

    Virbac follows the recommendations of the current Afep-Medef corporate governance code. The Group continues to improve its governance practices. 

    In some cases, it surpasses the objectives set by the Afep-Medef code:

    • half of the members of Virbac’s supervisory board are independent members;
    • the supervisory board is gender-balanced and made up of three women and three men.

The executive board is responsible for the strategic and operational management of the Virbac group. Its five members work closely together and they take collective decisions. This way of working encourages joint reflection and the search for a consensus. The members of the executive board regularly discuss the company’s long-term vision and operational requirements outside the formal meetings of the executive board. This flexible organisation allows a high level of responsiveness when taking strategic decisions.
The executive board reports on its work to the supervisory board and submits all of the Group’s strategic operations to the supervisory board for its formal approval. It is supported in its work by a regular dialogue with the members of the strategic committee. In addition to the members of the executive board, the strategic committee also includes the Group’s eight functional directors and five area directors. 

DirectoireMichel GaraudetEric MaréeChristian KarstSébastien HuronJean-Pierre Dick
  • Marie-Hélène Dick, chairwoman

  • Jeanine Dick, vice- chairwoman

  • Olivier Bohuon, independent member

  • Philippe Capron, independent member

  • Pierre Madelpuech, permanent representative of the company Asergi

  • Grita Loebsack, independent member

    Xavier Yon, permanent representative of the company XYC

The supervisory board ensures the permanent control of the management of the executive board, and the regular review of the accounts and of all major projects and investments.

The supervisory board comprises six members including three independent members:

  • Marie-Hélène Dick, chairwoman
  • Jeanine Dick, vice- chairwoman
  • Olivier Bohuon, independent member
  • Philippe Capron, independent member
  • Pierre Madelpuech, permanent representative of the company Asergi
  • Grita Loebsack, independent member

Two special committees aid the supervisory board in its tasks: the audit committee and the compensation committee. The supervisory board is assisted by a non-voting advisor, Xavier Yon.


    The audit committee is in charge of reviewing financial disclosures and the management of risks and accounting practices. Its responsibilities are as follows:

    • ensure the relevance, consistency and reliability of the accounting methods;
    • verify the existence and effectiveness of internal control and risk management procedures;
    • express its opinion on the validity of the accounting treatment of major transactions;
    • select the statutory auditors.

    It is comprised of Philippe Capron, chairman, Olivier Bohuon and Pierre Madelpuech.


    The compensation committee is responsible for:

    • drawing up recommendations and proposals regarding the compensation of the members of the executive board;
    • remaining informed about the Group's general human resources policy and more specifically, the compensation policy for the Group's main executives;
    • reviewing proposals and conditions relating to stock grants;
    • drawing up proposals regarding the amounts of directors' fees to be paid to the members of the supervisory board.

    It is comprised of Marie-Hélène Dick, chairwoman, Olivier Bohuon and Grita Loebsack.


    Xavier Yon, permanent representative of the company XYC.


    Deloitte & Associés, represented by Hugues Desgranges.
    Novances-David & Associés, represented by Jean-Pierre Giraud.

Key figures
    Capital employed

(in € million)

at constant exchange rates and scope (in %)

(in € million)

(in € million)

(in € million)

(in € million)
*Restated to reflect IFRIC 21


(in € million)
*Restated to reflect IFRIC 21

(in € million)

Innovating to build tomorrow
Jean-Pascal Marc,
Corporate Product
Innovation director

Our R&D is today structured into global segments: companion animals, ruminants, pigs, petfood and aquaculture. These segments are all centres of expertise that rely on our research and development centres located around the world and which operate as a network.

This organisation demonstrates its effectiveness in producing a solid portfolio of projects that meet the expectations of the animal health market and the objectives of Virbac. In 2015, this notably resulted in launching an entirely new petfood range in Europe and in obtaining the European marketing authorisation for Effipro Duo (parasiticide spot-on solution for dogs and cats) and for the PCV2 vaccine against post-weaning wasting syndrome in pigs in Taiwan. This vaccine, developed by the SBC Virbac Ltd joint-venture, introduces Virbac into the coveted market for pig vaccination in Asia.

To determine the relevant products for the future, Virbac relies on technological innovation but is also attentive to changes in consumption trends and markets. We are constantly decoding weak signals to work on projects that will meet the future needs of veterinarians, farmers and pet owners. Needs that are changing and that we must anticipate.

Veterinary HPM: closer to the natural diet of domestic carnivores

More than three years of research and development were necessary to develop the new petfood range: Veterinary HPM. With a 90% positive assessment of the palatability of the product, this range, designed for dogs and cats, is promoted exclusively in veterinary clinics.

Here, Virbac completely revised the classic nutritional approach to develop foods with more protein and fewer carbohydrates, much closer to the natural carnivorous diet of dogs and cats. They contain on average 30% more proteins and 40% fewer carbohydrates* than other “adult” products on the market. This improved nutritional balance, coupled with added functional ingredients, covers ten major areas of health.

A key first step before the 2017 launch of the Veterinary HPM therapeutic range.

+30% proteins
-40% carbohydrates
* internal analysis, September 2015, carried out on the French veterinary channel, data collected via official product websites


Partnerships which make stronger

In 2015, Virbac established many partnerships to expand the range of products offered to veterinarians, including:

  • Activyl and Activyl Tick Plus, parasiticides for dogs and cats;
  • Ectoadvance Plus, external parasiticide combining fipronil and S-methoprene for dogs and cats in the United States;
  • Orastrip, a diagnostic test of periodontal infections in dogs. 
One step further in China

The Chinese market for companion animals is growing. Virbac is gradually strengthening its product portfolio there. After obtaining marketing authorisations for Cortavance, Rilexine and Easotic, Zoletil 50 was registered in September 2015 for dog and cat species. This is an anaesthetic for domestic carnivores and wild animals already marketed in many countries. Launched in early 2016 in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, this product will eventually be distributed directly to all Chinese veterinary clinics. 

Curacef Duo, a new product for dairy cows

Co-developed by the Carros and Mexico R&D teams, Curacef Duo is a first in Europe. For the dairy market, this product is a combination of ketoprofen and ceftiofur to treat respiratory diseases in cattle (as well as foot root in Latin America). The Curacef Duo formula makes it possible to administer, now in a single injection, an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory. It is also characterised by a zero milk withdrawal period. Launched in 2015 in Mexico, this new product confirms Virbac as a major player in the dairy sector. 

Developing a culture of quality
Marc Bistuer,
head of Global Industrial
Operations & Corporate
Quality Assurance

Present on five continents, the Virbac production sites are the results of organic growth and acquisition, such as recently in Uruguay or Taiwan. Largely heterogeneous in size, our plants encompass the great diversity of know-how and products that is our strength. In fact, Virbac manufactures over 1,000 products with or without marketing authorization: vaccines, parasiticides, antibiotics, dermatological products...

Whatever the nature of the product and the level of technology, Virbac responds to the increase in regulatory constraints through massive investment that ensures a good level of compliance in all its plants, for all its products and all its suppliers worldwide. This is the aim of the “Virbac Quality System” process, currently being rolled out.

Compliance culture, guarantor of long-term competitiveness and supply security, extends progressively into all levels of the company.

Supplies secured, purchases optimised

Guaranteeing the security of supplies is indispensable to ensure the stability of the supply chain and the availability of products. All suppliers are subject to ever more frequent inspections, particularly those from European and American authorities. Virbac has, for several years now, undertaken a strategy of safeguarding its strategic active ingredients. Two options exist for this: the qualification of alternative sources and the constitution of security stocks. These solutions, which may be combined, are weighted by a careful assessment of supplier risk.

The Group relies for this on the Supplier risk index (SRI), a reference of 60 criteria for evaluating precisely and objectively the potential risks to existing sources of supply. A job that requires the involvement of several departments: Corporate Sourcing, Regulatory Affairs, Pharmaceutical and Industrial Development, Quality Assurance.

Upstream, the qualification of any new supplier must follow certain well-defined stages: to begin with, wide sourcing is carried out, followed by a progressive narrowing of the field. This is achieved through an initial qualification, obtained with the help of the Supplier evaluation form, followed by audits in different fields and, finally, an evaluation of risk using the SRI.

Production sites in 11 countries


Instrucciones, a new factory in Uruguay

Instrucciones is the new South-American site for production of vaccines and pharmaceutical products for ruminants. At the cutting edge of quality and technology, with an area of 32,000 m², Instrucciones has opened its doors in the outskirts of Montevideo. With an annual production capacity of 40 million doses of vaccines and 260,000 litres of pharmaceutical products, Virbac has endowed itself with an industrial tool capable of responding to rising demand in this region of the world.

VB8: let’s go!

First started in September 2014, the transfer of the manufacture of injectable products from factory VB1 to the new industrial site VB8, in Carros, was completed in March 2015. A successful operation, without disruption to stocks for clients. A real technological leap in the area of animal health, VB8 manufactures 50 antibiotic, nutritional, hormonal and parasiticide formulas, in injectable form. 2015 witnessed a gradual increase both in production and collaborator training. 

United States: Virbac is strengthening its quality system at St. Louis

Following an FDA inspection (Food and drug administration) in late 2014, Virbac decided in January 2015 to interrupt voluntarily its operations in the St. Louis manufacturing site, Missouri, so that it could mobilise all its teams on the QSIP (Quality system improvement plan). Virbac has invested significantly, particularly in terms of recruitment and training, to raise the standards of the local quality system. The production of hygiene products and of the flagship product Iverhart Plus resumed in the second part of the year.

Supporting growth with new products
Sébastien Huron,
head of Global  
Business Operations

In 2015, Virbac achieved sales of €853 million, an increase of 10.3% compared to 2014 and of 3.9% at constant exchange rates. This performance was notably led by newly acquired products for companion animals and the dynamic of new products which have generated globally €103 million of growth in sales at constant exchange rates, such as Sentinel (range of internal parasiticides for dogs), Milpro (internal parasiticide tablets for dogs and cats) or Effitix (external parasiticide for dogs).

Sales otherwise have registered an increase of 2.9% in aquaculture in 2015, despite the sensitive downturn in the vaccine business relating to antibiotics. Virbac nevertheless remains the world second veterinary player in this market. The ruminant sector, which is the second largest contributor for Virbac, has remained subdued (+0.8%) with good progress in our parasiticides and our nutritional supplements but with a decrease in our antibiotics mainly linked to supply problems.

Though all areas were contributing such as the Asia-Pacific area which has performed particularly well, certain countries such as India, United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain and Portugal have stood out with sales increases over 12%.





Products hitting the target in Europe

Several products, launched after June 2014 in Europe, have performed well in 2015 with sales of €32.5 million. One of the success stories to highlight is that of the wormer Milpro for companion animals, sales of which have allowed Virbac to take the 3rd place in the internal parasiticide market in Europe. Other products have also made very good starts. This is the case with Effitix, a parasiticide conceived for Mediterranean basin countries, which has been well received in Spain and Portugal, and with Veterinary HPM, the new petfood range for dogs and cats. After a few months of marketing, sales totalled €7.3 million in 2015.



of sales for new products launched in Europe since June 2014

2015: a good year for the United Kingdom

Virbac UK had maintained growth above 10% at constant exchange rates in 2015. This great performance was particularly linked to a good maintenance of the vaccine business and to the dynamic of new products for which sales surpassed the €6 million mark. Specifically, this applies to two products for cats and dogs: Milpro, internal parasiticide recommended in the prevention of heartworm disease and the treatment of intestinal parasites (tape and round worms), and Prinovox, a broad-spectrum spot-on parasiticide solution against various common parasites.

A good first year for Sentinel

Acquired from the Elli Lilly and Company laboratory on 2 January 2015, the Sentinel brand has now spent a full year within the Virbac group. It has had a good beginning, with sales of Sentinel Spectrum and Sentinel Flavor Tabs progressing to achieve accumulated sales in 2015 of more than $95 million, thanks to good integration of the Novartis sales teams and despite the launch of two competing products based on milbemycin. This dynamic has rewarded the hard and daily work of the sales teams who have developed a trustful relationship and partnership with distributors. As a consequence, in the United States, Sentinel is the 2nd most important brand in the heartworm market segment for dogs. 

India, a rising subsidiary

Leader in India, Virbac has achieved two-figure growth for the past two years. In 2015, Virbac India repeated this performance to achieve sales of €70 million. The company used an unusual business strategy, characterised by the creation of a sales force of several hundred sellers who visited a million small farmers. Each year, Virbac India develops its sales force and mechanically increases its client portfolio. Today, Virbac is working on new areas of development. On one side, the subsidiary is targeting the emerging key accounts that specialise in dairy production and, on the other, it is seeking to innovate and launch new products to strengthen its position as leader in nutrition for ruminants, where the needs are great.

Globalising the HR approach
Francesca Cortella,
head of Corporate 
Human Resources

Virbac brings together a community of women and men from very different cultures who are nonetheless all united by the same commitment and by a profound attachment to the company. Through its commercial affiliates, today the company is present in 31 countries with a wide range of sites and professions. Thus, the local manager plays a key role in animating the teams and in staff relations.

Today, human resources aims to maintain this balance between local management, which provides a great closeness, and global management in order to improve efficiency and give everyone the same opportunities for progress and personal development. That is why Virbac increasingly uses tools and processes common to the whole company. It is the case with, for example, our Perf management tool (Performance, evaluation, remuneration, training), and also the Learning management system, our online training platform launched at the end of 2015. They are all about improving staff employability. They also allow our staff to speak the same language.




First electronic internal opinion survey

Goodbye to paper, form collecting and tedious processes... The 7th internal opinion survey, carried out in June 2015, was completely paperless. Staff clearly appreciated this electronic version because participation was 82%.

What were the key points? 90% of staff have a positive opinion of the company. A result that has remained stable since 2009. If the global results are good and largely identical to those of the previous survey, the results in France show, by contrast, a slight drop. A drop that can be put into perspective as commitment to the company remains strong. In light of this, Virbac has chosen to work on several priority areas for improvement through dedicated action plans. We will meet again in 2017 to evaluate progress!

of employees wish to continue their career at Virbac
Diversity: principles and actions

Since the 2009 signature of the diversity charter recognised by the High authority for the fight against discrimination and exclusion, Virbac has taken the issue head on. Having adopted a policy favouring equality between men and women and the employability of seniors, Virbac has prioritised insertion and job retention for people with disabilities. The proof: signature at the end of 2014 of a business agreement in France, commencing in 2015 and to be continued in the next two years. With this agreement, Virbac has two main goals. First: to change the way disability is regarded, through internal communications and regular information. Second, it aims to respond to the obligation to employ disabled workers (3% in 2013 and 4.48% in 2015) through adaptation of work stations, reclassification, use of adapted businesses and also the systematic diffusion of offers of employment on specialised sites.

Easing hardship at work

Virbac is particularly careful about quality of life at work and especially about questions of health and safety, as in North America where two agreements about safety training and accident prevention were signed with the trade unions. In France, in continuation of its plan for prevention of hardship at work initiated in 2012, Virbac reinforced its activities in 2015 by adapting work stations that involve heavy loads, repetitive actions and noise. An agreement was also reached for the end-of-career planning for staff over 60 years.

Perf develops for even more detailed evaluations

Launched in 2005, Perf aims to help managers to strengthen their managerial skills and to make employees stakeholders in their own development. In 2015, the annual appraisal form was enhanced by the integration of additional evaluation levels both on performance and job mastery. With this new method, the end of year evaluation is more pertinent. These additions strengthen the link between the job description of the collaborator and their evaluation. This new system has been implemented and is already used by ten Virbac subsidiaries.

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