2015/12/11 - Products

New Zealand: Thrilling challenges ahead

VirbacNZ.jpgNew premises, dairy crisis, market concentration... 2015 is marking a turning point for the subsidiary in New Zealand. How are such evolutions to be tackled? Answers from general manager of the subsidiary.

Things are changing in New Zealand!
Yes, indeed! In January, a French woman with a Scottish name took over from a South African man with a French name. How surprising for the New Zealand team! One month later, we inaugurated the new Virbac offices in Hamilton - in the former Stockguard premises, which we acquired in 2012. For the very first time, all 57 employees from all of the departments at Virbac New Zealand were under the same roof.

A symbolic event?
Yes. The Auckland site will close down for good in 2016. A single big team will thus be able to work and collaborate more easily on one and the same site, adjacent to the production unit. The offices have been refurbished according to Virbac brand standards. This not only creates a unique and warm atmosphere, but also reinforces the feeling of belonging to the company.

And on the business front?
Virbac has been in New Zealand since 1993, when local company TechVet was bought out. Since then, the subsidiary's business has progressed constantly.
Almost twenty years later, acquiring Stockguard has more than doubled our sales, whilst maintaining high margins. The subsidiary now has the strongest growth among the top 5 players in the local market and an offensive strategy for reinforcing its 5th place.

How do you explain such good form?
Partly thanks to Stockguard's expertise in developing, manufacturing and marketing differentiated products, in particular intramammaries such as PenClox, Nitroclox and Intracilline, which put us in 2nd place in the in-lactation treatment segment. 

Any new challenges on the horizon?
Yes, there are. Firstly, we are facing a dairy crisis that has never been seen before. Farmers have lost more than half of their revenue in just nine months, and for the first time in ten years the number of dairy cattle in the country is going down. Another change is the level of concentration in the market. Our biggest client comprises no fewer than 30 clinics and 120 vets, looking after one million dairy cows, 800,000 beef cattle and 7 million sheep!

How will you adapt to the new landscape?
To cater for the requirements of our biggest clients, a key account manager has been appointed. Supported by Virbac's key account policy coordinator for the Apisa area, he is responsible for designing high-added-value partnerships with these clients, providing them with personalized solutions that support them as they grow.

And in terms of strategy?
Whilst holding on to our position in dairy sector, we have decided to diversify the promotion of some of our key products, such as Multimin, injectable trace elements, in beef cattle farming. We also want to become stronger in sheep farming thanks to better exploiting our current product portfolio.

Your final word?
We still have plenty to look forward to, and many growth opportunities – notably if we communicate directly to farmers. This will help construct strong brands and generate spontaneous requests among vets.