The BIC Group, parent of industry supplier BIC Graphic (UPIC: BIC), has released full year 2015 financial results and plans to evolve its governance structure following a decision by Mario Guevara, CEO, to retire in May. Bruno Bich, chairman of the group’s board of directors, will replace him.

In its full year 2015 results, the group reported a 6.2-percent increase in net sales to €2.24 billion (US$2.49 billion) and it expects sales to grow in the mid-single digits this year. The company also plans to invest in brand support and R&D in 2016 to fuel mid- and long-term growth opportunities.

“We are proud to deliver another strong set of results, with robust sales growth and a further improvement in normalized income from operations,” says Guevara. “In 2016, capitalizing our strong financial structure, we decided to strengthen our investments in order to enhance mid- and long-term growth.”

BIC Graphic’s net sales grew 4.6 percent in fourth quarter 2015 on a comparative basis, and its €319 million (US$354 million) in net sales for full year 2015 represented a 1.6-percent increase over the previous year. In 2016, the focus will continue to be on profitable growth, as well as new products and enhanced service to customers. In its review of the division’s performance, the company noted in particular that the North American landscape has been changed by industry consolidation among suppliers and distributors, and the upward trend of online business.

“Considering the recent evolution of the promotional products industry’s environment, the board has decided to initiate a review of strategic alternatives for BIC Graphic,” says Guevara.

With Guevara’s retirement in May set to coincide with the group’s next annual shareholder’s meeting, the board will nominate Bich to the CEO position and consolidate the role with his function as chairman of the board. It will also propose extending the retirement cutoff age for the chairman, CEO and executive vice president to 72.

“On behalf of the board, I want to express our gratitude to Mario Guevara for his contribution to the success of our group during his career,” says Bich. “Under Mario’s guidance, BIC reinforced its leadership positions throughout the world and significantly improved net sales and results. We wish him the best for his retirement.”