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“2021/2022 will be remembered as an historic year for the Group: all of its key financial and non-financial indicators have risen to unprecedented highs.”
Rémy Cointreau put in an excellent performance in 2021/2022. In another pandemic year, we have the work and dedication of our teams, their passion and outstanding expertise to thank for delivering these new record-breaking results.
As in previous crises, Rémy Cointreau showed that it has the tenacity to stay the course and stick to its targets: its sights are set firmly on the long term to address short-term uncertainties. We are reaping the fruits of this strategy.
2021/2022 will be remembered as an historic year for the Group: all of its key financial and non-financial indicators have risen to unprecedented highs.
With organic sales growth up 27.3%, we have comfortably outperformed the exceptional spirits segment and gained market share across all regions and for the bulk of our brands.
Yes, these results are spectacular. But we have also continued to plan for the future. True to our long-term commitments, the Group is investing in its strategic assets: its eaux-de-vie, production facilities and brands. The increased spend on marketing and communications is a major development, an investment that has consolidated the foundations of our two growth pillars: Cognac and Liqueurs & Spirits.
We can also be proud of how far we have come on our sustainability journey, reflecting our ambition of achieving sustainable growth and sharing the value created with all the Group’s stakeholders, in line with our commitments to the Global Compact.
First of all, with our people, who share in these outstanding results through our employee share purchase plan. Next, with all shareholders through the share buyback programme launched in June 2021, an attractive dividend policy and, of course, the robust Rémy Cointreau stock performance.
I would like to thank our shareholders for their trust and confidence in Rémy Cointreau, in some cases over many years.
As I come to the end of my term of office as Chairman of the Board of Directors in July, I’m confidently looking forward to passing on the baton to the next generation – a confidence shared by my sister Dominique and my brother François. The Group has long prepared for this changing of the guard, and the new generation is primed and ready to take over at the helm. Their attachment to the earth is deep and sincere, their passion for our craft is palpable and backed by sound professional training.
Over the past five years, Rémy Cointreau has made considerable progress with its transformation plan, shedding its old skin to be ready to face the challenges ahead. Now more than ever, our Group is geared up and ideally positioned to continue its forward March.
With our strategic plan ahead of schedule and an efficient business model, our 2030 targets are confirmed as we look with confidence to the future. It only remains for me to wish the new generation the very best: may the wind be always at your back!
Rémy Cointreau has had an exceptional year. What were the main drivers behind the Group’s performance over 2021/2022?
These results confirm the relevance – especially in the current context – of the strategic plan we unveiled two years ago. But we look beyond the immediate results to the long term, founded on our three-centuries-old brands and their firstclass products steeped in history. We are merely the caretakers of this heritage – a heritage that is handed down from generation to generation. When we lack short-term visibility, we draw
strength from this long history and our brands that have withstood so much over the years. Our results also reflect the robust performance across the sector as a whole in this difficult macroeconomic and geopolitical climate. Exceptional spirits – a market in which we aim to establish ourselves as world leader – did especially well. Moreover, we have benefited from certain consumer trends that have been accentuated by the pandemic: uptrading, a boom in at-home mixology and a shift towards more direct customer contact through online marketing. We were poised to ride the wave of these trends – all three play to our strengths and tie in with our strategy. Plus, we are well positioned in the most dynamic markets: the US, China and parts of Europe. Lastly, we capitalised on our positive results by pouring even more investment into our brands. We know that it is precisely when things are going well that it is important to invest in the future.
What were the highlights for you over the year? And your proudest achievement?
I’m extremely proud that we were able to step up investment in our brands, launching high-impact campaigns such as the Rémy Martin campaign with Usher and The Botanist’s Super Bowl ad. Campaigns such as these show that we not only have excellent products, but are also capable of boosting their appeal and raising brand awareness among consumers, while moving with the times. This is one of the secrets to long-lasting success: ageing well without getting old. Another highlight has been our first steps in implementing our portfolio strategy. This strategy sets out a roadmap for each brand and will really help us develop some of the most promising gems in our portfolio. A good example of this was our investment in The Botanist’s Super Bowl ad. The Botanist is one of our priority brands and we invested far more than its current US market share would typically warrant. But it was commensurate to our hopes for this gin, uniquely rooted in the terroir on Islay. Among our more “regional” brands, Telmont Champagne is the one we have taken the furthest. In little over a year, we have totally rethought its positioning and are already starting to reap the benefits. But what we are most proud of as a Group is undoubtedly our sustainability policy and more specifically its environmental aspects. Our dedication to our terroirs has made us a pioneering force in this area. We took things up a level this year with a new project, #APlanetOfException, which has made Rémy Cointreau the very first carbon-neutral spirits group. And this is just the beginning: for now, our carbon-neutrality relies on offsetting – an important interim step – but the ultimate goal is to reduce our emissions at source.
The record-breaking year was also notable for the remarkable growth in Liqueurs & Spirits. Has this division passed a new milestone?
Absolutely. And a milestone is exactly what it is – the first of many on our journey to realizing our brands’ full potential. Cognac will of course always be first in terms of sales value; it’s in our DNA. But as part of our uptrading strategy, we have redefined what we mean by “exceptional”, galvanizing our teams in a push to boost our liqueurs and spirits brands. So we no longer define exceptional as “$50+”. Instead, it is about products being exceptional for their category. Take Cointreau and The Botanist: they remain below the $50 price point but are nonetheless key in creating value for the Group and raising its profile, which in turn boosts our investment capacity. We increased our media spend and invested in top-notch content expressing each brand’s individual DNA in a bid to take them from “very good” to “outstanding” in the eyes of our customers. As a result, their values are starting to gain recognition with a wider audience. This marketing push was coupled with a strategic rethink of our distribution model, brand by brand and market by market. The fact that we have a ten-year rather than a three-year horizon is also key, because it allows us to aim higher. For our whiskies, for example, this long-term approach is what prompted our decision to completely overhaul our processes on Islay, introducing a far-reaching multi-year plan covering everything from malting to maturing, via distillation and bottling. We wanted to lay the groundwork for future growth, but without jeopardising what makes our whiskies so special: our rigorous ingredients selection, our production processes, our respect for terroir – and all the sustainability commitments that that respect entails.
And how would you say the first two years of your ten-year plan have gone?
First, I’d say that the most important thing about this plan is that it gives us a long-term goal to focus on given the growing short-term uncertainty. This is what has helped us stay true to our values worldwide – we were not thrown off course by the challenging short-term context. And our results have shown that we were right to stick to our guns. The plan has also been a unifying force for our Business Units, giving them a shared goal. We are in the favourable position of being ahead of our targets – something that is extremely rare over a company’s life cycle. This has freed up resources to invest even more than we had initially planned in our brands, establishing a virtuous circle. It also means that we got things right in terms of our pricing power, strengthening our brands and adding to their appeal. But it is important to remember that a transformation plan is more than just a roadmap and processes. It is first and foremost about people. Our results are down to the work of our teams, to whom I offer my sincere thanks. They should be very proud of what they have achieved in such challenging times.
Looking ahead to 2022/2023, how does the Group envision the future?
We are charentaise winegrowers. This makes us cautious by nature, even if we have shown that we can be ambitious too – the two are not mutually exclusive! But being dependent on the weather and climate keeps us humble in the face of the current uncertainty. Who could have predicted the pandemic or the war in Ukraine? And yet, we have reason to be confident. First, because our results have borne out the relevance of our strategy: it is right for the Group and in line with market trends. Second, because we have exceptional brands that still have so much more to give. Third, because we know where we’re going and how to get there: we have a clear plan and the very best teams in place to make it happen. And lastly, because, thanks to our strong performance over the past few years, we are now in a position to invest more than ever before in our brands. Today’s investments are tomorrow’s revenues.
The medium-term Rémy Cointreau strategy is clear: To become the world leader in exceptional spirits.
Each brand has a specific task within the group portfolio, and must adapt its business model to this particular goal in terms of product, distribution and communications. Growth drivers vary among the brands, but all seek to reinforce the emotional bond with their customers. To achieve this, we must develop a direct, personal link through increased media and digital investment, educate during private events, led by our brand ambassadors, and foster loyalty through the development of specific schemes and CRM.
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