Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53LR
Schweiter increases sales and achieves the second best result in company history
Steinhausen, March 4, 2022 – In a difficult business environment, Schweiter Technologies was once again able to increase sales year on year. Even though the operating result was slightly reduced compared to the exceptionally high comparison base, the result remains the second best in the company’s history.
Net sales reached CHF 1’226.9 million (previous year: CHF 1’160.2 million), which corresponds to a growth of 6% (5% in local currencies). Affected by the delayed pass-through of higher raw material, energy and transportation costs as well as one-time integration expenses for the foam board business acquired the prior year from Newell, EBITDA for group fell by 14% to CHF 151.5 million (previous year: CHF 175.7 million), corresponding to a return on sales of 12.3%. EBIT fell to CHF 111.3 million (previous year: CHF 137.6 million), while net profit was CHF 84.4 million (previous year: CHF 103.5 million).
Cash and cash equivalents amounted to approximately CHF 123 million and the equity ratio was almost 70%. The Board of Directors will propose to the General Meeting of April 6, 2022 the payment of a dividend of CHF 40 per bearer share.
The press conference will take place today at 11 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel, Neumühlequai 42, Zurich.
The 2021 annual report and the investor presentation can be downloaded from: https://www.schweiter.ch/s1a200/investors/financial-reports-presentations.html
|Schweiter Technologies Group (in millions of CHF)||
|+ / –|
|as a % of net sales||12.3%||15.1%|
Schweiter Technologies’ products continued to enjoy extremely high demand in 2021. In terms of sales, the Group achieved the best result in its history and – after an exceptionally profitable previous year – the company recorded its second profit the highest ever recorded. The first half was marked in particular by very strong growth in sales and profits. Demand for basic materials for the wind energy sector fell in China and the United States in the second half, but sales of products for the United States display, architectural and marine markets fell. flourished, reaching record levels.
The biggest challenges in fiscal 2021 were meeting delivery deadlines in the face of limited availability of certain raw materials and significant bottlenecks among a range of supply and transportation companies. Managing production at a time when projects were on hold by customers also proved difficult. Despite difficulties in the supply of certain raw materials and restrictions affecting transport capacities, it was possible to maintain the proper functioning of supplier and warehouse management systems and to guarantee high product availability. Many raw material, energy and transport costs rose sharply and were compensated after a slight delay by price increases, with the exception of products in the Display segment in the United States.
The European display market segment showed moderate growth in 2021 and benefited from a further increase in demand in the areas of digital printing and store design, while sales of transparent sheets are back to normal after the sharp increase in demand for Covid-related protective partitions the previous year.
In contrast, the US Display business recorded a substantial increase in sales of around 50% year-on-year. Traditional applications such as advertising and interior decoration have largely benefited from the catch-up effects after the Covid restrictions. The foam board business of Newell Brands Inc., acquired the previous year and fully integrated into the business since, also contributed to the sales growth.
Volatile increases in raw material, energy and transportation costs caused a temporary decline in profitability despite increased capacity utilization and continued increases in selling prices. One-time integration costs of the foam board business acquired from Newell Brands Inc. further impacted earnings this reporting period.
Overall, the architecture market segment had a very successful year in 2021. The European construction industry recorded a rapid recovery from the pandemic-related slowdown of the previous year, the company reaching nearly double-digit percentage sales growth in Europe. The continuous adjustment of selling prices in a context of a sharp rise in the cost of aluminum led to an increase in profitability.
The Architecture business in the United States continued its growth trajectory that began two years ago. With a sales increase of more than +30% and a disproportionate increase in profitability, the North American architecture market segment surpassed its European counterpart in terms of sales and profits for the very first time in 2021.
The Asian Architecture business was affected in many countries by the imposition of severe restrictions on contacts, the closure of construction sites and the postponement of projects. Nevertheless, thanks to a well-stocked project pipeline, the segment was able to achieve a moderate year-on-year increase in sales. Significantly higher purchase costs for aluminum and other raw materials as well as a changed product mix, however, had a dampening effect on profitability.
The basic materials market segment can look back on a two-part year. The first half was characterized by sustained demand from wind and marine customers, with good use of production sites. In the second half of the year, demand for wind turbine rotor blades decreased compared to the very strong period of the previous year. On the other hand, sales in the non-wind segment saw a double-digit percentage increase thanks to record levels of demand in the US marine market.
Continued strain on supply chains, rising commodity prices and business disruptions caused by Covid pandemic measures were other challenges in the second half of the year. Nevertheless, both in terms of sales and earnings, the market segment achieved the second best performance in its history after the record year of 2020, and strongly reaffirmed its leading position in the PET and balsa sectors.
The Transportation segment faced challenges as customers halted production and put projects on hold. However, the first signs of an impending market recovery were visible. While sales in 2021 were roughly at the level of the previous year, the order book showed a significant improvement, in particular in the rail vehicle business. On the other hand, road vehicles, and in particular the activity of tourist coaches, continue to be affected by the current crisis. Earnings in 2021 were hit by significantly higher material and energy prices and new project start-up costs. It was only possible to pass on part of the cost increases to the market. In order to limit the negative effects on profitability, operating processes have been optimized and new cost reduction measures introduced.
3A Composites is off to a strong start for the new business year. However, due to the current political situation, any forecast is subject to considerable uncertainty.
Despite a slight slowdown in economic momentum and the uncertainties linked to the future evolution of the pandemic and political imponderables, performance should remain at a good level.
Economic forecasts for Europe and the United States call for continued growth in 2022. After months of pandemic-related restrictions, people’s needs for in-store shopping experiences and restaurant visits will again increase significantly. This development is expected to lead to increased demand for 3A Composites’ high quality display products. The demand for products for the construction of trade fairs is also expected to gradually increase.
The Architecture market segment forecasts further sales growth in 2022, supported by continued high activity levels in the European construction industry and catch-up effects from projects that had been delayed and postponed in Asia. Continued sales growth is also forecast for the North American market, despite a pandemic-related pause in the start-up of new construction projects.
The Core Materials business expects demand to increase from the second quarter, particularly in China. The medium and long-term outlook for business with wind energy customers also remains positive. Weight-saving solutions for applications in marine engineering, construction and industry open new growth opportunities for the segment.
In Transportation, demand for lightweight solutions, particularly for rail vehicles and buses, is expected to remain high and drive further growth.
First sustainability report to GRI standards
Many aspects of Schweiter Technologies’ business activities contribute to the realization of a sustainable future. The lightweight construction of Schweiter products helps reduce the amount of energy they consume during operation and therefore reduce CO emissions2 emissions. For Schweiter Technologies, social sustainability means accepting the social responsibility of employees and people living near production sites, as well as supply chain partners. It also involves supporting social partnership projects. All of this is accomplished on the basis of good governance and fair business practices. During the reporting year, Schweiter Technologies identified key sustainability and ESG areas where the company can achieve maximum impact. For the first time, Schweiter is reporting in detail on these areas in accordance with the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
The company will continue to pay an attractive dividend in addition to its investments in organic growth and acquisitions. The payout ratio is determined by the target equity and debt financing ratio as well as the amount of planned capital expenditures. The Board of Directors will propose to the General Meeting to pay an unchanged dividend of CHF 40 per bearer share. This represents a total payment of approximately 57 million francs.
As previously communicated, Heinz Baumgartner is stepping down as CEO at his own request, but will remain a member of the board of directors.
Roman Sonderegger will join the company as future CEO from May 1, 2022 and will assume the duties and role of his predecessor after an induction period.
For more information, please contact:
Martin Kloti, CFO
Phone. +41 41 757 77 00, fax +41 41 757 70 01, [email protected]