The Octapharma Group delivered yet another excellent performance in 2020, with strong sales growth and robust profitability despite the many challenges of COVID-19. Sales increased by 8.1% to €2.4 billion, compared to the prior year, and the company generated an operating income of €451 million.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected every part of our business, from plasma collection, to our supply chain, production and engagement with key stakeholders. Our employees across the business rallied to mitigate the worst effects of the crisis and, through close collaboration and thousands of individual actions, continued to produce and deliver life-saving medications on behalf of tens of thousands of patients who rely on them, while successfully executing on our strategy for profitable organic growth.
As a result of this collective effort, we once again recorded strong year-on-year growth in our Immunotherapy product portfolio, as well as in sales of Albumin, Nuwiq®, fibryga® and atenativ®. Overall, we strengthened our position in key markets in North America, China and Europe, and our presence in growth markets in Latin America and Asia.
Gross profit in 2020 was €840 million, up 7.4% from the prior year, while gross margin declined by just 0.3 percentage points to 35.1% and this largely due to higher costs associated with COVID-19. Total operating expenses for the year were €390 million, up from €359 million in 2019.
Operating profit was €451 million and profit before taxes €386 million. The Group’s effective tax rate was significantly reduced by a deferred tax asset recognised in 2020, a result of the corporate tax reform in Switzerland. This is reflected in net income for 2020 of €376 million.
Net cash from operating activities was €600 million. Our capital position remains extremely strong, with an equity ratio of 80%.
Significant investments were made in new donor centres, improved production capacity, operational efficiency and into R&D to expand our product portfolio and capabilities. This has positioned the Group well for further growth in 2021 and beyond, while enhancing our resilience to external shocks.
While COVID-19 continues to have a detrimental effect on our operations, Octapharma is well positioned to not only weather current challenges but come out stronger in the longer term.
During 2021, the Group will invest further in talent, infrastructure and capabilities as we seek to continue the strong sales momentum which has delivered annualised revenue growth of 11% since 2016, build our position in our chosen markets, expand our product portfolio and continue to serve the needs of healthcare professionals and patients around the world.
Chief Financial Officer