Switch of focus to system-critical elastomer components.
Notwithstanding the challenges associated with COVID-19, Datwyler switched its focus, as promised, to high-quality, system-critical elastomer components during the reporting year. This meant selling the Distrelec and Nedis distribution companies in March and the civil engineering business in May. Taking into account the companies sold, net revenue amounted to CHF 1'069.2 million. The sale of the subsidiaries resulted, as announced, in a non-cash book loss of CHF 464.5 million. As a consequence, the reported operating result (EBIT) came to CHF –315.9 million and the reported net result to CHF –346.3 million. Further reporting will relate to the operating performance of continuing operations for the two business areas Healthcare Solutions and Industrial Solutions as well as the online distributor Reichelt.
Continuing operations with currency-adjusted growth.
At an operational level, Datwyler performed strongly despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to its leading market positions and close customer relationships, the company generated net revenue of CHF 1'012.1 million (previous year: CHF 1'050.5 million) from continuing operations. Adjusted for the negative impact of the strong Swiss franc, this equates to a currency-adjusted increase of 1.2%. The Healthcare Solutions business area, the Food & Beverage business unit and the online distributor Reichelt in particular reported additional revenues for 2020 and strong incoming order figures for 2021 as a result of the pandemic. In the healthcare business, the combination of additional demand for the provision of COVID-19 vaccines and the ongoing rise in demand for high-quality FirstLine™ components accelerated revenue growth in the second half of the year. In the Food & Beverage business unit and at the online distributor Reichelt, it was the widespread changeover to working from home that led to an increase in demand for capsule coffee and electronic appliances and accessories. The situation was different in the Mobility, General Industry and Oil & Gas business units. In these units, Datwyler had to contend with significant revenue declines over several months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Improved profitability despite expenses for managing the impact of the pandemic.
By taking action early, the company was able to adapt cost structures at the sites negatively impacted by the pandemic to the lower demand quickly and effectively. At the same time, the healthcare business and the online distributor Reichelt significantly improved their profitability. As a result, Datwyler was able to in-crease the operating result (EBIT) by 10.9% to CHF 148.0 million (previous year: CHF 133.5 million) and the EBIT margin to 14.6% (previous year: 12.7%). This was despite expenses incurred in managing the impact of the pandemic and start-up costs for new production capacities. The net result for continuing operations rose by 20.7% to CHF 118.9 million (previous year: CHF 98.5 million). Diversification across several market segments has proven its worth in tough times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Healthcare Solutions and Food & Beverage areas and the online distributor Reichelt, Datwyler earns over 70% of its revenue in low cyclical markets that are growing steadily. In view of the higher profitability levels and given that prospects look promising, the Board of Directors is asking the Annual General Meeting to pay an increased cash dividend of CHF 3.20 per bearer share and CHF 0.64 per registered share. This equates to a payout ratio of 45.8% of the net result for continuing operations.