21 May 2021 - Deborah Wilkes
Swedish probiotics specialist BioGaia plans to sell its products under the BioGaia brand name in Finland following termination of a distribution agreement with local company Verman.
Isabelle Ducellier, BioGaia’s chief executive officer, commented that Finland was an “important” market for the company and had “one of the world’s highest penetrations of probiotic products”.
BioGaia’s products will be available under the BioGaia brand name in “Finnish pharmacies and pharmacy web shops later this year”.
Verman marketed a range of BioGaia’s products for gut health and oral health under its Rela and Reladent brand names.
To support the launch, BioGaia has opened a subsidiary in Finland and appointed Minna Tähtinen as managing director. The Swedish company pointed out that Tähtinen had previously worked for Verman, marketing the Rela products.
Tähtinen said she was confident that BioGaia’s position on the Finnish market would “remain strong and continue to develop due to active research and development, new indications and line extensions”.
The new subsidiary is the second for BioGaia outside its home market of Sweden. The first was set up in Japan in 2006.
A spokesperson for BioGaia told OTCToolbox that the company planned to open more subsidiaries but its focus would remain on its "loyal and fantastic distributor network".
BioGaia was taking a pragmatic approach, said the spokesperson, adding that if the company didn't have a relevant partner in a country then it could open its own business. The spokesperson noted, for example, that BioGaia was not present in the UK or the Netherlands.
"Our ambition is that we want to build a global brand and be accessible to every consumer in the world," said the spokesperson.
First-quarter results released
BioGaia recently reported worldwide sales up by 10% to SEK202 million (USD24.2 million) in the first quarter of 2021. Organic growth excluding a negative currency effect of 11 percentage points was 21% (click here to read the News story).
The rise followed a fall of 3% in 2020 when BioGaia said the COVID-19 pandemic had taken its toll during the year. Sales in the first and second quarters of 2020 increased by 7% and 10% respectively, but the company recorded falls of 21% and 10% in the third and fourth quarters respectively.
Operating profit was up by 16% to SEK64.2 million, giving an operating margin of 32%.