Measures to combat COVID-19 had a significant impact on plasma collection in 2021, resulting in lower plasma volumes. This was offset by strong demand for our products, notably within our Immunotherapy product portfolio, as well as in sales of Albumin and fibryga®, which supported price increases that boosted overall sales revenue.
In addition, collective actions by employees across our business helped to keep our supply chains open, maintain our strong relationships with key stakeholders, implement our strategy to simplify and improve operations, find new ways to attract donors, and continue to produce and deliver our life-saving medications to tens of thousands of patients around the world.
The dedication and commitment of Octapharma employees was reflected in our results. Gross profit in 2021 was €808 million, down 3.8% from the prior year, while gross margin declined by 2.9 percentage points to 32.2%, which was largely due to higher costs associated with COVID-19. Our strong focus on costs, however, saw total operating expenses for the year fall to €349 million from €390 million in 2020. The Group’s effective tax rate was also significantly reduced by a deferred tax asset recognised in 2021, following corporate tax reform in Switzerland.
As a result, profit before tax was a record €464 million and net income a record €438 million, up from €376 million in 2020. Net cash from operating activities was €481 million. Our capital position remains extremely strong, with an equity ratio of 80%.
As in prior years, significant investments were made in new donor centres, improved production capacity, operational efficiency and R&D to expand our product portfolio and capabilities.
As a result, our company is well positioned for future growth, which we expect will be supported by a significant return of plasma collection volumes in the coming year, our continued investment in talent, the delivery of our operational transformation strategy and the introduction of new production capacity, including the new fractionation line in Springe and the start of validation of the capacity extension project in Vienna which is expected to be operational from early 2024.
Chief Financial Officer