Group business review
Bystronic looks back on a successful financial year with strong growth
In the 2021 financial year, Bystronic successfully completed its transformation into an independent, listed innovation leader. The continuing operations developed well in the reporting year: order intake increased by 51.2%, net sales by 17.2%, and the operating result (EBIT) over-proportionally by 67.0%. This success was driven by strong growth in all regions. The divestment of the discontinued operations FoamPartner and Mammut resulted in a cash inflow of CHF 320.3 million.
Order intake and sales development
Our customers exhibited a positive investment behavior in the 2021 financial year. Following the pandemic-related slowdown in the previous year, most industries experienced a significant upswing. Thanks to an innovative product and service portfolio, Bystronic benefited from catch-up effects, in particular in the construction and semiconductor industries as well as the agricultural and steel services sectors. Order intake increased by 51.2% to CHF 1,175.5 million and sales by 17.2% to CHF 939.3 million.
Operating result and profitability
The operating result (EBIT) grew over-proportionally by 67.0% to CHF 70.1 million. Bystronic thus achieved an EBIT margin of 7.5% compared to 5.2% in the previous year. In addition to the strong sales growth, the expansion of the service business had a positive impact on profitability. On the downside, the situation on the procurement markets deteriorated significantly in the second half of the year. This led to pandemic-related increases in costs along the supply chain, in particular for components and shipping. Thanks to its strong regional presence, Bystronic was nevertheless able to successfully ensure deliveries and installation of systems for its customers. As part of reassessments, Bystronic also recognized provisions totaling CHF 6 million.
Net result, divestments and dividend
The net result for Bystronic amounted to CHF 56.8 million (2020: CHF 28.5 million) and earnings per class A registered share were CHF 27.08. The operating free cash flow increased by 32.0% to CHF 64.8 million.
The divestment of the activities of FoamPartner and Mammut in the first half of 2021 resulted in a cash inflow of CHF 320.3 million. As per December 31, 2021 cash, cash equivalents, and securities totaled CHF 495.7 million. The Board of Directors proposes a dividend of CHF 60 per class A registered share. As a result, shareholders are paid out a part of the existing excess liquidity. The proposal takes into account not only the successful conclusion of the transformation, but also Bystronic’s future capital needs.
Acquisitions and strategy implementation
In the reporting year, Bystronic further strengthened its position as a supplier of end-to-end solutions for automated sheet metal processing. Our innovative product portfolio is helping our customers to progressively digitalize their production. In this context, in particular our automation solutions are generating a great deal of interest. For this reason, Bystronic acquired the remaining minority shares in the Italian automation specialist Antil in November 2021 and will continue to expand this line of business.
In line with the trend towards fully automated and digitalized manufacturing processes, Bystronic also offers its customers integrated software solutions. In March 2021, the group acquired the remaining minority shares in the Spanish software specialist Kurago. The smart factory software developed in collaboration with Kurago put through its paces by seven test customers last year and will be launched on the market in 2022. By offering combined solutions comprising systems, software and service, Bystronic is positioning itself in even closer proximity to its customers.
In the reporting year, in line with its Strategy 2025, Bystronic strengthened its service business and launched a modular portfolio covering maintenance, hotline support, spare parts management, and consumables. The service business grew by 30%, thus accounting for 22% of total revenue.
Bystronic’s very strong position in an attractive, growing market promises further market share gains and profitable growth. During the strategy cycle from 2019 to 2025, Bystronic aims to achieve annual organic sales growth exceeding 5%, an EBIT margin in excess of 12% and a return on capital employed (RONOA) of more than 25%.
The conditions on the procurement markets and with regard to shipping capacities continue to be very tense. For Bystronic, this primarily entails challenges in purchasing, longer shipping lead times, and correspondingly higher costs in production, which can only be passed on to customers with a time delay – especially in view of the high order backlog. Assuming that the situation on the procurement markets normalizes during the course of the year, Bystronic expects sales growth of between 10% and 12% and an EBIT margin of between 8% and 9% for 2022. At this time, Bystronic is unable to assess potential impacts of the war in Ukraine on the global economy and the development of business.
Net sales of the discontinued operations amounted to CHF 183.6 million, to which FoamPartner contributed CHF 76.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 and Mammut CHF 107.3 million for the first half-year 2021.
The operating result (EBIT) of the discontinued operations amounted to CHF -88.8 million. The divestment loss of FoamPartner accounted for CHF -80.1 million, resulting from the goodwill recycling as prescribed by the Swiss GAAP FER accounting standards.
In the 2021 financial year, net sales of the entire group amounted to CHF 1,122.9 million (2020: CHF 1,283.5 million), which corresponds to a decrease of 12.5%. The operating result (EBIT) was CHF -18.7 million, due to the loss in connection with the divestment of FoamPartner. In the previous year, the operating result (EBIT) was CHF 79.7 million, including CHF 47.4 million gain on sale from the divestment of Schmid Rhyner, which was completed at the end of February 2020.
Overall, the net result was CHF -27.8 million, compared to CHF 66.9 million in the previous year.