Strong financial year and successful conclusion of transformation
2021 was a successful year for Bystronic at the strategic, operational and financial levels. The transformation into an independent innovation leader has been concluded, and the new organizational structure is in line with the Strategy 2025. At the same time, we achieved strong growth in a challenging market environment. We are thus on track to reaching our ambitious targets.
In 2019, Conzzeta’s Board of Directors decided to focus on Bystronic’s fast-growing business and to divest the remaining operations. With the sale of FoamPartner at the end of March and Mammut at the end of June 2021, this transformation was brought to a successful conclusion.
Since May 3, 2021, the Bystronic shares have been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. We have thus established ourselves on the capital market as an independent company. Simultaneously, we adapted our organizational structure in line with our growth targets for the individual regions. Today we are in a good position to expand our position as one of the leading suppliers of sheet metal processing solutions.
Expansion of service and software
The transformation was a challenge for our more than 3,500 employees worldwide, especially given the many pandemic-related difficulties in the year 2021. However, we demonstrated our ability to remain productive and develop innovations even under difficult circumstances. We have also realigned our sustainability endeavors in order to drive them forward in a focused manner.
In order to strengthen our market position, we are constantly enhancing our product range and expanding both our service business and our software solutions. Last year, we made major progress in all these areas. For example, we successfully positioned our range of systems in the global entry-level segment, launched our modular service portfolio and installed and tested our new software solutions in collaboration with a number of customers.
Growth in a challenging market environment
The market environment in 2021 developed very positively. Following the cautious investment behavior of our customers in the previous year in response to the pandemic, demand increased strongly in the reporting year. For Bystronic’s continuing operations, order intake increased by more than 50% to CHF 1.2 billion and net sales by 17% to CHF 939.3 million. We achieved growth in all regions. This is attributable not only to catch-up effects, but also to our innovative portfolio: particularly our automation solutions generated a great deal of interest.
At the same time, we mastered the challenges of ensuring the availability of key components and efficient shipping to cope with the high order volume. Although procurement and logistics costs increased significantly in the second half of the year, we achieved disproportionately strong growth of the operating result (EBIT) from CHF 42.0 million in 2020 to CHF 70.1 million in 2021. Bystronic’s net result doubled to CHF 56.8 million.
Shareholders are paid out a part of the excess liquidity
As a result of the cash inflow from the divestments and the positive operating free cash flow, cash, cash equivalents, and securities totaled CHF 495.7 million. The Board of Directors proposes to the General Meeting a dividend of CHF 60 per class A registered share and CHF 12 per class B registered share. In this way, 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.
Bystronic continues to enjoy a strong capitalization to pursue organic and acquisitive growth. With regard to the future dividend policy, we plan to distribute between one third and one half of the net result to our shareholders.
Bystronic holds a very strong position in an attractive, growing market, promising further market share gains and profitable growth. During our strategy cycle from 2019 to 2025, we aim 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%.
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.
We owe our success to the outstanding commitment of our employees. We would therefore like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation to our employees for their outstanding work. We would also like to thank our business partners and shareholders for their great support and their continued trust.
Zurich, March 15, 2022
Chairman of the Board