SFS shows a distinct recovery in the second half year

News – 29 January 2021

SFS Group achieved organic growth of 3.7% in the second half of the year, driven by a distinct recovery in demand and seasonal effects. Sales for the 2020 financial year amounted to CHF 1,705 million. Higher production capacity utilization and strict cost management as well as mix effects supported profitability in the second half of the year. For the 2020 financial year an operating profit of approximately CHF 227 million was realized, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 13.3%.

While demand in the first half of the year fell sharply in some areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a clear and sustained recovery in demand in various end markets and regions from the summer months onward. Especially the automotive-related business are-as that had been heavily impacted by the collapse in demand and factory shutdowns at key customers during the first half of the year showed a strong recovery. In the second half of the year, sales momentum also profited from successful product launches with customers from the electronics industry.

Sales grew organically by 3.7% in the second half of the year compared to the previous year period. In the first half of the year, sales showed a decline of –10.4% in organic terms. For the full year, organic sales growth was a negative –3.2%. Consolidation effects contributed 3.0% to full-year sales, while currency translation had a negative effect of –4.1%. Gross sales for the 2020 financial year amounted to CHF 1,704.9 million.

Growth factors 1st half
2nd half


Currency effect –3.8% –4.5% –4.1% –1.3%
Change in scope of consolidation 3.4% 2.7% 3.0% 4.4%
Organic growth –10.4% 3.7% –3.2% –0.6%
Total –10.8% 1.9% –4.3% 2.5%
Sales by segment
Gross sales
in CHF million
1st half
2nd half



Engineered Components 380.1 518.2 898.3 957.1 –6.1%
Fastening Systems 234.0 255.7 489.7 498.3 –1.7%
Distribution & Logistics 159.6 157.3 316.9 326.0 –2.8%
Gross sales 773.7 931.2
1'704.9 1'781.4 –4.3%

Engineered Components: Significant increase achieved in the second half of the year

The increase in sales at SFS Group in the second half of the year is largely due to the recovery at the Engineered Components (EC) segment, which accounts for more than 50% of total sales. With its focus on industrial applications, and particularly on the automotive industry, the EC segment was hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of the year. A recovery began in July and gained momentum during the second half of the year, particularly in automotive-related areas. The course of business also benefited from the very successful product launches of important customers in the electronics industry. Organic sales growth at the Medical division supported the segment's development throughout the year. The situation remains challenging in the aircraft industry due to the restrictions the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.

Segment sales increased sharply by 36.3% in the second half of the year compared to the first half of the year. In the period under review, SFS generated sales of CHF 898.3 million which corresponds to a decrease of –6.1% compared to the previous year. The negative currency effect of –4.7% was partially offset by a positive consolidation effect of 2.6%.

Fastening Systems: Profited from robust demand in the construction sector

The Construction division, which focuses on the construction industry, was subject to less severe restrictions related to COVID-19 during the first half of the year, reflected in an only limited reduction in demand. In organic terms sales matched the level from the previous year. The Riveting division, however, which focuses primarily on applications in industrial and automotive-related areas, experienced a significant decline in sales.

Sales in the FS segment for the period under review amounted to CHF 489.7 million, which corresponds to a decline of –1.7% compared to 2019. Positive consolidation effects added 6.0% to the reported sales figure, while negative currency effects reduced reported sales by –5.3%.

Distribution & Logistics: Stable development thanks to diversified sales channels

The Distribution & Logistics (D&L) segment primarily does business with customers from the construction and industrial manufacturing sectors in Switzerland. D&L's well-balanced sales channel mix and product portfolio helped to limit the impact of the pandemic on its business operations. Strong demand especially in the areas of building materials and personal protective equipment compensated for the weaker development with industrial manufacturing customers. The overall stable course of business observed during the first half of the year continued in the second half.

The D&L segment generated sales of CHF 316.9 million in the period under review, a decline of –2.8% compared to the prior year. Currency translation contributed –0.6% to the decline in reported sales.

Sales by region

In CHF million



% share
% share
Switzerland 332.2 346.0 –4.0% 19.5% 19.4%
Europe 603.2 694.3 –13.1% 35.4% 39.0%
386.9 384.5 0.6% 22.7% 21.6%
Asia 377.7 351.6 7.4% 22.2% 19.7%
Africa, Australia 4.9 5.0 –2.6% 0.2% 0.3%
Total 1,704.9 1,781.4 –4.3% 100.0% 100.0%

Sales by region: Geographic sales mix influenced by developments in end markets

The regional sales mix was influenced by developments in the end markets. Driven by strong demand in the electrical and electronics industry, which is conducted almost exclusively in Asia, the Asian share of total Group sales increased by 250 basis points to 22.2% for the year under review.

Sales in the Americas benefited from growth in the medical device business and the solid development of the construction industry. Acquisitions in the Automotive and Construction divisions contributed 10.0% to the positive development. The Americas share of total Group sales in 2020 was 22.7%.

Thanks to the – in view of the pandemic – stable business at D&L, the share of sales generated in Switzerland increased slightly to 19.5%.

Sales in Europe, by far the largest market for SFS, showed a sharp decline. While the construction sector developed robustly in 2020, the pandemic had a very negative impact on customers in the automotive, aircraft and industrial areas, but SFS was nevertheless able to defend its market position in these industries. Sales in Europe declined by CHF 91.1 million in 2020 compared to the previous year and the region’s share of total Group sales contracted to 35.4%.

Profitability significantly increased in the second half of the year

Thanks to an ongoing recovery in demand and positive seasonal effects in the second half of the year, production capacity utilization improved significantly in the second half. Higher capacity utilization, strict cost management and positive mix effects lifted the operating profit margin for the second half of the year to 16.8% of net sales. Operating profit benefit-ed in particular from a strong performance in November and December. Based on unaudited results, SFS expects operating profit (EBIT reported) to amount to CHF 227 million, which corresponds to a stable EBIT margin of 13.3% compared to the previous year. In absolute terms, expected operating profit is below previous year's result of CHF 236.3 mil-lion, but above the forecast given in mid-November.

The detailed and audited financial statements for the 2020 financial year and guidance for the 2021 financial year will be presented at the online conference for the media and analysts on 5 March 2021.

28th Annual General Meeting on 22 April 2021 without physical attendance

In view of the COVID-19 situation, the Board of Directors of SFS Group has decided to limit shareholder participation in the 28th Annual General Meeting of SFS Group AG on 22 April 2021 to the exercise of their voting rights in writing or electronic remote voting and issuing powers of attorney to the independent proxy. Physical attendance of shareholders is therefore not possible. The Annual General Meeting will be held at the headquarters of SFS Group AG in Heerbrugg (Switzerland) in the presence of the independent proxy and a representative of the Company’s external auditor.