SFS harnesses strong market demand in 2021 to achieve record results

Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 KR – January 13, 2022

In a dynamic market environment characterized by high demand, supply chain bottlenecks and the COVID-19 pandemic, SFS seized opportunities that arose in each of its segments to boost its sales by 11.0% to CHF 1,893 million, an outcome that was based on its ability to fill customer orders. The resulting high utilization of production capacities strengthened profitability. Based on the provisional and as-yet-unaudited figures, the SFS Group expects an EBIT margin of around 16%.

The 2021 financial year was characterized by strong market demand, supply chain bottlenecks and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Focusing on temporary capacity adjustments in the previous year enabled the Group to largely preserve jobs and hold on to expertise, therefore putting SFS in a position to respond swiftly to the recovery in demand. While all three segments benefited from substantial demand in the first half of the year, some of which was shaped by strong catch-up effects, that demand was impacted increasingly over the course of the year by bottlenecks in our customers’ supply chains. Our own good ability to fill customer orders made it possible for some divisions to gain market share.

Despite sales declining slightly by 2.3% in the second half of the year compared to the first half, sales increased substantially by 11.0% over the 2020 financial year. As a result, sales in the year under review also clearly exceeded the level generated in 2019 (CHF 1,781.4 million, reported). In view of the strong baseline effect, sales in the second half of the year were slightly higher year on year.

Gross sales by segment
In CHF million
1st half
2nd half



PY +/–
Engineered Components 492.1 483.1 975.2 898.3 8.6%
Fastening Systems 293.1 281.8 574.9 489.7 17.4%
Distribution & Logistics 172.6 170.4 343.0 316.9 8.2%
Gross sales 957.8 935.3 1,893.1 1,704.9 11.0%

Consolidation effects contributed +0.8% to full-year sales, while foreign currencies only had a slightly negative effect of –0.1%. Gross sales for the 2021 financial year amounted to CHF 1,893.1 million.

Growth factors 1st half
2nd half
2021 2020
Currency movements –1.2% 0.7% –0.1% –4.1%
Change in scope of consolidation 1.4% 0.2% 0.8% 3.0%
Organic growth 23.6% –0.5% 10.3% –3.2%
Total 23.8% 0.4%
11.0% –4.3%

With respect to end markets and regions, the sales trend was broad-based. Persistently high demand was beneficial for the divisions that focus on the construction industry and industrial manufacturing, in particular. Business with customers in the electro and electronics industry posted yet another increase in sales over the strong prior-year period. Conversely, automotive-related areas that had benefited from pronounced catch-up effects during the first half of the year suffered increasingly from the consequences of semiconductor supply chain bottlenecks. The business with medical devices grew even despite COVID-19-related restrictions.

Development by end market
In CHF million
2021 2020 PY +/– 2021
Automotive industry 403.7 368.0 9.7% 21.3%
Construction industry 595.3 530.5 12.2% 31.4%
Electro and electronics industry
376.4 356.6 5.6% 19.9%
Medical device industry 136.4 131.1 4.0% 7.2%
Other industries 381.3 318.7 19.6% 20.2%
Total 1,893.1 1,704.9 11.0% 100.0%

Development in all individual regions was positive, with the greatest growth of 18.6% reported in Europe due to momentum in the automotive and construction industries during the year under review. Growth in the other regions was between 6.7 and 7.0%.

Engineered Components: Characterized by catch-up effects in automotive-related areas and industrial sectors
The Engineered Components segment recovered substantially in the wake of the COVID-19-related slump of the 2020 financial year. In the automotive industry, recovery had already begun in the third quarter of 2020 and this persisted into the first half of 2021. Bottlenecks in the semiconductor supply chain started putting pressure on OEMs’ production figures in the summer months, which then also impacted call-offs at SFS.

While the trend in the various industrial niche markets served by the Industrial division exhibited a similar yet delayed pattern overall, supply chain problems impacted this division to a much lesser degree. The Aircraft business lingered at a low level yet began showing initial signs of a recovery during the fourth quarter.

The Electronics division, which had to measure up against a strong baseline due to the extremely good results it generated in the previous year, profited from a persistently positive market environment.

Demand in the Medical division developed solid, with different growth pattern depending on the area of application.

Overall, the segment generated sales of CHF 975.2 million, representing growth of 8.6% compared to the same period of the previous year. In addition to our customers’ supply chain bottlenecks mentioned above, the strong baseline effect is another factor that contributed to the declining growth rate during the second half of the year. Sales growth was almost exclusively organic in nature; foreign currency and consolidation effects only had minor impacts of –0.5% and +0.9%, respectively.

Fastening Systems: Dynamic market situation throughout the entire year
The exceptional demand situation that the Fastening Systems segment had already successfully leveraged in the first half of the reporting period to generate record results continued in the second half of the year, albeit at a slightly lower level. This strong demand resulted in widespread supply shortages on the market, however. Both divisions successfully managed to largely guarantee their ability to fill customer orders in this challenging environment.

The generally stable situation in terms of material and product availability enabled the Construction division to take advantage of its good positioning and gain new customers.

While the Riveting division made use of the good demand situation among industrial customers, the business with customers from the automotive industry cooled down substantially over the course of the second half of the year.

In this exceptional environment, the segment generated CHF 574.9 million in sales, which corresponds to a remarkable 17.4% increase over the same period of the previous year. Consolidation effects contributed +0.5% to the reported sales figure, while foreign currency effects resulted in +0.3%.

Distribution & Logistics: Good initial situation from first half of year exploited
The Distribution & Logistics segment, which primarily serves customers from the industrial manufacturing and construction industries in Switzerland, grew substantially and hit an all-time high during the financial year just ended. After realizing sales growth of 8.1% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year, the segment was able to grow at 8.3% in the second half of the year thanks to stable market demand in all areas of application and good overall availability of materials.

The resulting segment sales amount to CHF 343.0 million during the period under review, which corresponds to an increase of 8.2% year on year, with +0.2% attributable to foreign currency effects.

Greater profitability through high capacity utilization
Strong yet occasionally volatile market demand led to good overall utilization of production capacities. Phases of high utilization, the ability to timely pass on price increases as well as the continuation of targeted cost management practices prompted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated risks, are expected to result in an operating profit margin (EBIT margin) amounting to around 16% of net sales.

The detailed, audited financial figures for the 2021 financial year and guidance for the 2022 financial year will be presented online at the media and analyst conference on March 4, 2022.