Record year for the SCHURTER Group: At the end of 2020, the increasing number of incoming orders was a promising sign. As a result, the SCHURTER Group was able to achieve strong growth in 2021 of 14.2 % from CHF 259.3 mil. to CHF 296.1 mil.
The «Switzerland/Southern Europe» region recorded an increase of 13.6 % compared to 2020. Meanwhile, areas such as Eastern Europe with +24.6 %, Northern Europe with +9.7 %, as well as India/West Asia with +48.5 % were in some cases able to record massive increases compared to 2020. Germany with +4.1 % was able to gain little benefit from the general upswing, particularly in Input Systems. It was, however, able to compensate for this with its strong business in medical technology in the previous year. Elsewhere, markets in Asia and the USA again recorded large increases (Asia-Pacific +19.0 % and America +36.8 %), which can be attributed to the enormously high demand from global distributors and their forward-looking inventory management and availability. The strategic business unit «Solutions» suffered increasingly from material shortages during the reporting year. Nevertheless, it was able to implement important projects and, after a weak year in 2020, posted gains again in the reporting year. In Input Systems, the pandemic-related additional orders from medical technology failed to materialise, resulting in a marginal year-on-year decline. A breakdown by strategic business areas shows a plus of 21.8 % to CHF 207.2 mil. for Components, a minus of 0.3 % to CHF 89.0 mil. for Input Systems and +7.63 % to CHF 29.4 mil. for Solutions.
It is encouraging to see that the market regions reported adjusted figures in accordance with Strategy23 in the reporting year for the first time. Investments in tangible assets and equipment were also decisively implemented. At the same time, long-term objectives were also prioritised: projects such as the expansion of the Lucerne, Hungary, and India locations as well as the relocation of SCHURTER in China (Shenzhen) to a much larger building were all successfully completed.
Thus, in addition to record turnover, record values were reported in the performance of the SCHURTER Group. At CHF 22.3 mil., the profit after taxes for 2021 was significantly higher than the previous year’s figure (CHF 9.4 mil.). In relation to sales, both profit +7.5 % (+3.6 %) and cash flow +11.3 % (+8.1 %) were clearly above shareholders’ targets at CHF 33.5 mil. (CHF 20.9 mil.). At +9.7 % (+5.4 %), EBIT was at the upper end of what the MEM industries consider to be the norm.
Despite the difficult environment, the number of employees in the SCHURTER Group was increased by 9.4 % and totaled 2237 employees as of 31 Dec. 2021. It is therefore hardly surprising that the production sites in the Czech Republic (Železný Brod) increased by 10.0 %, the Czech Republic (Jihlava) by 18.4 %, China (Shenzhen) by 22.6 %, Hungary by 18.2 % and India by 42.0 %. Recruiting additional professionals in Eastern Europe has proved difficult as the labour market has completely dried up.
The order backlog pointed in only one direction: upwards. The situation at the beginning of the year began at CHF 23.7 mil., then rose steadily to an unprecedented CHF 58.9 mil. at the start of the year, an increase of 148.8 %. The enormous order backlog led to massive over-utilisation in all production plants. This could only be partially compensated for by the deployment of additional staff and substantial overtime.
The SCHURTER Group started 2022 with full order books. However, the major challenges for the group remain. In Components, we are still dealing with the difficult recruitment of missing technical specialists coupled with a lack of input materials and insufficient machine capacities. Input Systems and Solutions are mainly struggling with the poor availability of corresponding input materials. Incoming orders remain at a high level but are expected to decline somewhat during the course of the year. Nevertheless, the SCHURTER Group is looking ahead to 2022 with great confidence.