Strategy and analysis
There are several reasons why long-term development is natural for Virbac. The majority of Virbac’s capital is controlled by one family, that of the founder, Dr Pierre-Richard Dick. His profoundly humane values have marked the company and remain the foundation upon which company strategy is built. As with many family businesses, the ability to envision the long-term and act accordingly is part of its structural heritage. Furthermore, being a listed company only serves to advance this vision, because increasing numbers of shareholders favour companies whose strategies incorporate sustainable development goals that enhance, rather than impede, economic performance. Virbac’s mission of developing, manufacturing and selling veterinary medicines and, more generally, animal health products places it at the heart of the food chain. Its customers, veterinarians and farmers, are becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and human health. So Virbac is, as a result, naturally driven to orientate its activities accordingly.
The rapid growth of the Group strengthens at once both its local and its global character, leading to additional requirements. Virbac is consequently deeply anchored in its native region, the Côte d’Azur, where it is the largest company of local origin. Its visibility is growing with an expanding workforce and investment in its native area. At such, it must endeavour to set both a social and environmental example for its employees and its community. At the same time, however, Virbac has also become a global company, realising over 60% of its sales outside Europe and with subsidiaries in 31 countries spread across every continent. The company must ensure that its development respects certain common guiding principles, regardless of where it operates, in particular in relation to social and environmental issues, whilst incorporating development targets.
Since 2012 the company’s sustainable development strategy has been audited by one of the company’s statutory auditors. The audit is very solidly based in three areas.
In the social sphere, respect for human beings was one of the key values of the company’s founder: the maintenance of real social dialogue, a policy of remuneration and welfare for employees at the lower end of the salary scale, and the trust and interest shown in every employee form part of Virbac’s historic values. The company is committed to preserving and fostering this legacy by complementing it with ambitious skills development policies.
In the environmental sphere, the company’s operations themselves guarantee strict quality requirements (compliance, for example, with good manufacturing practices and with good laboratory practices). In addition, several years ago the company launched lean manufacturing and continuous improvement projects designed to steadily cut waste and optimise use of resources. The search for energy savings and respect for the environment are ever more systematically integrated into the company’s key decisions (on investment, transport, product design, etc.).
In the financial sphere, the company’s objective is to continue pursuing the steady and profitable growth it has seen almost annually since it was founded. This development is primarily based on solid organic growth, driven by innovation and the strength of Virbac’s customer relationships. The company regularly boosts its development through targeted acquisitions, all the while ensuring a controlled level of net debt. This strategy is pursued within the framework of a straightforward and clear governance structure providing shareholders with a high level of transparency. Without overdoing the communication, Virbac uses a genuine approach, targeting long-term development that respects customers, employees, shareholders, partners and its environment.