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.