This resulted in a decline in sales of -3.0 % from CHF 267.24 Mio. to CHF 259.35 Mio. The market region “Switzerland/Southern Europe” recorded a minus of 10.2 % compared to 2019. “Eastern Europe” with -8.7 %, “Northern Europe” with -13.3 % and “India/West Asia” with -5.9 % also lost massively compared to 2019. “Germany” with +2.7 % was able to benefit from the pandemic due to additional business in the Medical Equipment segment. The markets in Asia and the USA recorded a large increase of +17.5 % in “Asia-Pacific” and +10.3 % in “Americas”, which can be attributed to additional business in the Medical Equipment segment and a vacuum in distribution business. After six extremely successful years, we had to accept stagnation in the SBU Solutions for the first time. Broken down into the strategic business units, the sbu Components recorded a decline of 6.4 % to CHF 170.16 Mio., Input Systems an increase of 4.4 % to CHF 89.19 and Solutions a decline of 5.2 % to CHF 27.30 Mio.
The structural set-up defined in Strategy23 was maintained. Savings programmes and an agile adjustment of the organisation of all Group companies were initiated immediately. These initiated measures had a positive effect on the results of the SCHURTER Group. Profit after tax in 2020 was CHF 9.44 Mio., which is significantly higher than the previous year’s figure (CHF 6.60 Mio.). In relation to sales, both profit 3.6 % (2.5 %) and cash flow 8.1 % (6.7 %) or CHF 20.92 Mio. (CHF 17.83 Mio.) were slightly below the long-term entrepreneurial targets.
Despite the difficult environment, the number of employees in the SCHURTER Group increased marginally by 1.8 % and amounted to 2,034 employees on 31.12.2020. The closure of the SCHURTER (SK) s.r.o. site in Slovakia resulted in an increase of 21.2 % at SCHURTER spol. s r.o., Czech Republic and 20.3 % at SCHURTER Electronic Components s.r.l., Romania. The largest expansion took place at SCHURTER Electronics (India) PVT Ltd. (+101 FTE) due to the transfer of the device connectors and plastic production from SCHURTER Electronics Shenzhen Ltd., China.
However, the pandemic left its mark, especially in the customer-specific area. At times, interactions with customers were hardly possible. This has certainly had a negative impact on the order intake for new customised projects, predominantly in the area of Input Systems and Solutions. However, further market developments should offer new opportunities for the SCHURTER Group. For example, the Solutions approach at SCHURTER Electronics S.p.A. in Italy is being pushed and there are promising offers. In addition, we want to cultivate the market region “IBERIA” with our own strength. The building projects at SCHURTER AG in Lucerne and CABEX Kft in Hungary are progressing according to plan. The new buildings can be put into operation in 2021. Uncertainty will remain, so it is all the more important that we expand our market presence in Europe, Asia and America.