It is my pleasure to introduce our 2012 annual report and its account of our excellent results. Last year, our second year as a listed company, was a good year for DIA, which continued to demonstrate the strength of its business strategy and model and the valour of the work being performed by our teams in a complex economic environment.
This strength is evident in the almost 7,000 stores in operation at year-end. But it is clearer still in the trust placed in us by nearly 45 million shoppers, our gross sales figure of over €11.6 billion and the gain in our share price last year of 39%.
2012 was unquestionably an important year on the corporate front. We thought long and hard about our values and the business ethics we want to uphold. On 9 May 2012, the Board of Directors approved the company’s Code of Ethics. This code sets out the business principles which must inspire all DIA employees to ensure clear and transparent decision-making and so that all our employees are safe in the knowledge that they are doing the right thing by consistently championing the company’s values. Anyone who wishes to read the code can download it from our corporate website (www.diacorporate.com). Indeed DIA has set up a business ethics committee at the corporate level whose duties include that of disseminating and implementing the code, ensuring that it is acknowledged, understood and upheld.
Another noteworthy milestone was the approval of DIA’s risk management policy. This policy is designed to strike a balanced trade-off between growth and profitability targets and the associated risks. In 2012 the company set up a corporate risk management committee; in the course of 2013 we plan to continue to set up local risk committees in our various operating markets.
The acquisition of the Schlecker chain in Spain and Portugal provides another example of how the DIA team continually monitors the market for compelling investment opportunities that present scope for synergy creation. This transaction brings us a retail line that complements our current health and beauty offering for existing and potential customers.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our shareholders for placing their trust in us and our people, who once again demonstrated that they are up to the task, demanding circumstances notwithstanding. The team’s achievements can be tangibly measured in terms of our innovation, service quality, customer service, shareholder value creation and, in short, the stringent demands of the ambitious endeavour that is DIA. Their daily work has allowed us to inch ever closer to our customers with our unique business model which guarantees access to fine-quality food at unbeatable prices. Proximity, efficiency and growth are present in each and every one of the steps our professionals take every day so that the number of shoppers placing their trust in us continues to rise.
I would also like to extend my thanks to them, our customers, and those who have yet to be won over, but who surely will be, as they too are part of our success story.
Ana Maria Llopis