A strong performance keeps us on track
for advancing human lives.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Octapharma Group can report a record-breaking result with sales of 1.6 billion, which represents an increase of 87 million or 5.8% compared with 2015. This outstanding performance is the result of enhanced collaboration and improved efficiencies across all functions and regions throughout the group. It would not have been possible without the focus, efforts and perseverance of all our employees and business partners.
Octapharma achieved sales growth of 18.8% in North America, 14% in Eastern Europe and 6% in our well established markets of Western Europe. The main contributors of the growth were our immunoglobulin products octagam® and gammanorm®, and our factor VIII products octanate®, wilate® and Nuwiq®.
Gross profit in 2016 was 590 million, 8 million higher than in 2015. The 36.9% gross margin of net sales is slightly lower than last year due to our continued investment in the expansion of our plasma donation centres and production capacity. Our cost per litre of plasma is affected by both the industry-wide trend of increasing donor fees in the US and the opening of our new plasma donation centres. Expanding our fleet of centres is a high value investment for the future; however, time is required before the new centres are running to full capacity.
In 2016 Octapharma increased its investments in our future product portfolio and important markets; however, our total operating expenses decreased by 24 million to 207 million, due to an extraordinary income from a financial settlement. In addition to the 84 million investment in research and development (R&D), 166 million was spent on the extension of both our plasma collection and production divisions.
We achieved an unprecedented operating income of 383 million. Net cash from operating activities was 288 million or 18% of revenue. Trade receivables increased after a very strong fourth quarter and our net inventory rose due to welcomed greater volumes of collected plasma raw material.
Over the last five years Octapharma has experienced tremendous growth with a compound annual growth rate of 15%. Our development initiative, Program 2019, was launched in 2014 to double production capacity and significantly increase the overall efficiency of our manufacturing operations. We have been heavily investing in people, equipment and property to prepare for the increase in production capacity and volumes. While the technical infrastructure is largely in place, our focus is now on securing the necessary regulatory approvals to transform our investments into increased product availability for patients.
During a strategic workshop the Board focused on where we want the company to be by 2026. Our new strategic goals are: increase market penetration and expand into new geographies; expand the plasma and recombinant product portfolios and optimise R&D timelines; optimise production efficiency; increase plasma collection and fractionation capacity; proud and talented employees in a healthy organisation; and open and transparent communication. These pillars are at the forefront of planning and help to guide all the decision making and priorities of the Octapharma Group.
Our target for 2017 is sales growth of more than 10% and absolute profit results which are comparable to 2016. This year is expected to be the final transitional period before we finally start harvesting the real benefits of the profound investments made in plasma collection and production.
I am optimistic that Octapharma will continue to be in a strong position to deliver new health solutions advancing human life.
Chief Financial Officer