At the 2015 Blackmores AGM

Posted on October 31, 2015

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imageChristine Holgate, CEO:

The China Free Trade Agreement is extremely important to Blackmores, to take products into the Chinese market.
At the moment there is a 35% import tariff on products like fish oil.
Asian business has had the most outstanding period.
More business in Asia brings more business through the facility in Warriewood.
She spoke about China – Shanghai, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

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Christine Holgate, CEO

Blackmores owns Bioceuticals.

Strong balance sheet
Strong operating cashflow
Market cap of $3 billion

New problems:
Able to satisfy the needs of consumers
Availability of stock is the single biggest challenge they have in their business
Phenomenal growth
The challenge is to forecast the demand and growth
Product demand has multiplied ten times over
They cannot buy the raw material to satisfy the demand for quality product
Raw material has become scarce
Planning is the most important thing they can do
Everybody in the world wants to have food and products manufactured in Australia
Now manufacturing in Canada and Germany
An immensely challenging time
Will invest with people who grow and harvest ingredients eg fish oil

Li Na is a Chinese celebrity with a tennis racquet who works for Blackmores. She has millions of followers on Instagram and is in an ad for tablets to take during pregnancy.
It is the leading natural heath brand in Australia and Asia.
Profit is up 160% in the past year.
China is 50% of their business.
Business would still be up 18% without China.
36% growth in FY15.

Today Blackmores announced a 50-50 joint venture with Bega for milk powder for infant formula
Processing of milk
Two trusted brand names made in Australia with Australian milk. It will be branded Blackmores
Next year
High demand
Ageing population in China, Japan and Indonesia.
(Just don’t mention the paedophile at Bega).

Aaron Canning
Chief Financial Officer:

Tax 34%
$17.8 million tax paid
We believe in paying our share of tax

81% rise in earnings per share

“I’ve spent my life looking after people.
I believe that if you look after people they’ll look after you.” Marcus Blackmore

Marcus Blackmore, Chairman

Marcus Blackmore, Chairman

9 million proxy votes by shareholders
Marcus owns about 26%

97% of Blackmores products are not grown in Australia
Need to go back to growing things in Australia

It’s ironic that Australia’s best farmland, the black soil on the Liverpool Plains is under threat of coal mining by Chinese government-owned Shenhua. How much more valuable is that land to produce food and nutrition for people in the long term. Innovation is required.

As an Australian company in Asia, I’d be wary of counterfeit products, lying, fraud and corruption. There are many cultural differences, with a major one being trust. Have your wits about you, Blackmores. I’ve lived in Asia, been lied to and I’ve seen European business people lose a lot of money because they didn’t understand corruption and shipping, how things are done. I’ve often thought someone should write a PhD thesis on the differences between Anglo Saxon and Asian styles of business. Perhaps Blackmores would be the perfect example.

Before CEO Christine Holgate went to China, she saw a fortune teller in Chatswood. She was told to buy something green, so she hasn’t taken her pendant off. She had a photo taken with the Chinese president? and business has boomed.

Today Blackmores is celebrating 30 years on the ASX. It is one of Australia’s most successful companies, if not the most successful. The share price has gone from $31 to $200 in the past year.

My son saved his money in the bank but wanted to grow it quicker, so what did we do? We bought Blackmores shares.

Jonathan with Marcus Blackmore

Jonathan with Marcus Blackmore

It seems like a happy, healthy and ethical company.

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imageOn a tour of the factory I saw that there is a gym for staff. Shareholders ate lunch in the big open area where staff eat healthy lunches with lots of fresh vegetable superfood salads, wraps and things like frittatas.

Chairman Marcus Blackmore’s mobile phone went off via his iPad while the CEO was talking. He is a positive, persistent and innovative man who has grown a great Australian company.

I’ve always been interested in health and taken vitamin and mineral supplements. Each day I take tablets out of jars of fish oil, echinacea, garlic, Vitamin C, B and D for myself and my children. As a teenager we bought Blackmores wild nettle shampoo and conditioner in their old bottles in the 1980s.

At the end of the AGM, the 98 year-old man who’s been sitting next to me got up and spoke. He forgot how much his shares were when he bought them, 3 or 4 dollars each, but he said he doesn’t need the money now. He asked if Blackmores was splitting shares to help people buy them who are less well off. The CEO shook her head. They are fundraising with local community groups at the Blackmores campus, selling raffle tickets to buy a car. She mentioned Tony Abbott a few times, they are in his or Bronwyn Bishop’s electorate.

Shareholders get a good discount at the Blackmores store and online, with free shipping.
https://www.blackmores.com.au/about-us/investor-centre

Has Blackmores lost that lovely herbal image it once had? With hand drawings of calendula, echinacea, arnica, sage and chamomile on its labels. As I look outside my kitchen window at the flowering herb garden, yes it has.

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In the shareholders goody bag there was a jar of new Exercise Multi for energy performance. The marketing direction has made Blackmores a household name, taken it into the mainstream, it’s big business now, no longer on the fringe.

Blackmores has over 50 naturopaths working in the building so its naturopathic roots are still there. I just want to see more pretty flowers and hear their herbal names more.

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