After a challenging 2020 financial year, the Bossard Group posted a year-end result of CHF 812.8 million in sales (previous year: CHF 876.2 million). In the last three months of 2020, all market regions exhibited positive growth rates.
Robust demand worldwide in the fourth quarter was evident in Europe, leading to a sales increase in the comparison period. However, the broadly diversified customer base and industrial sectors had a positive impact on the financial year, thanks to strong demand particularly in the medical technology, rail, and automation sectors.
Adjusted for acquisitions, annual sales totalled CHF 454.7 million with the group’s net income amounting to CHF 67.8 million (previous year: CHF 76.0 million).
The significantly improved demand in the second half of 2020 had a positive effect on business performance. Furthermore, digitalization spurred by the pandemic helped to boost demand in the electronics segment.
In Asia, the Bossard Group remained on a growth course, posting sales of CHF 145.4 million, a 3.2 percent year-on-year increase in local currency (in CHF: -3.1 percent). The effects of the pandemic hit the first quarter of 2020 hard, especially in China, yet once restrictions were relaxed, the economy in the entire Asian region began to recover in the second quarter. Compared to the overall region, Bossard posted above-average growth rates in Malaysia, Taiwan, and Korea. The expansion of office and warehouse capacities in China was completed – the investment made will enable the Bossard Group to grow further in the northern region of China.
Earning power and profitability preserved
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact made the global market environment extremely difficult last year, Bossard nonetheless retained its strong earning power and maintained profitability. EBIT totalled CHF 86.4 million (previous year: CHF 95.7 million). The EBIT margin amounted to 10.6 percent, just barely below the previous year’s value of 10.9 percent and within the long-term targeted range of 10 percent to 13 percent.
The challenging market environment did have an impact on net income, which fell to CHF 67.8 million (previous year: CHF 76.0 million). The return on sales totalled 8.3 percent compared to last year’s 8.7 percent.
As a result of the lower operating net working capital, total assets declined slightly to CHF 641.3 million (previous year: CHF 652.7 million). The equity ratio at the end of 2020 was 50.3 percent, up from 46.7 percent in the previous year, which further strengthened the balance sheet. Free cash flow amounted to CHF 50.4 million (previous year: CHF -22.1 million), positively affecting net debt, which dropped from CHF 187.7 million to CHF 155.7 million. Gearing, the ratio of net debt to equity, hence declined slightly from 0.6 to 0.5. Bossard remains on solid financial ground, allowing it to pursue strategically significant projects and strive for accelerated growth in the coming years.
Daniel Bossard, CEO of the Bossard Group said: “It is difficult at this point in time to predict how the pandemic will play out in 2021. Yet if our fourth quarter 2020 financials and the development of the purchasing manager indices are any indication, we have reason to be confident.”