Miba, Laakirchen, Austria, has reported its annual figures for its 2020/21 business year (February 1, 2020–January 31, 2021). The company reported that despite the global pandemic, sales declined by just 8.8% during the year, totalling €891 million compared to €977 million in its 2019/20 business year.
It was stated that over the course of the past summer and autumn, business has picked up noticeably in all of Miba’s divisions. “As a result of the strong market demand that has since returned, Miba has achieved a sales level since the beginning of the year that is at least back to that of before the start of the COVID pandemic,” stated Miba’s CEO, F Peter Mitterbauer.
Against this background, the company is currently hiring around fifty additional employees for its sites in Austria – primarily skilled workers and apprentices.
While the broader automotive business was strongly affected by the pandemic in spring 2020, the wind energy market segment saw a sales growth throughout the year. Business with components for environmentally-friendly trucks in China also developed very well due to the stricter emission limits there.
“It has once again been demonstrated that Miba, with its broad product portfolio for a wide variety of markets, is ideally positioned, particularly for challenging economic developments,” Mitterbauer added.
In 2020, Miba realised the importance of continuing its focus on important topics. Over €32 million was invested in research and development, and forty-three new patents were registered. Miba now holds a total of around 400 patents and more than 300 employees in research and development.
The company has also invested in training and continuing education, on which it spent around €1 million. In addition, Miba continues to place a strong emphasis on apprentice training; in Upper Austria alone, twenty-five young people started an apprenticeship with the company in the autumn. In total, Miba employs nearly 300 apprentices. The company has invested almost €34 million in property, plant and equipment.
Technologies for a cleaner planet
“We want our products to contribute to a cleaner world that is even more worth living in,” Mitterbauer further added. “For us, this corporate mission [‘technologies for a cleaner planet’] is not only a source of motivation and direction, it also offers us great opportunities. And the developments of recent months in particular show that we can make good use of them.”
One example is wind energy: Miba offers bearings, friction materials, power resistors and cooling technologies for wind turbines. It achieved strong sales growth in this business segment in the previous year.
With its broad product portfolio, Miba is increasingly able to position itself in e-mobility. With its resistors, the Miba’s Power Electronic Group has been accepted into one of the most important European e-car platforms and is investing €2 million in new production facilities in Styria for this purpose. Many new Miba product innovations relating to electric motors and battery solutions are also about to receive their first series production orders.
In addition, Miba and the Mühlviertel-based company Voltlabor, in which Miba has held a stake since 2019, are two of only six Austrian companies that have been accepted by the EU Commission into the IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) programme ‘EuBatIn’. The goal of the initiative is to build a competitive European battery industry.
Future market opportunities
Miba reports seeing major growth opportunities in future markets. Above all, decarbonisation (i.e., the gradual transition carbon neutrality) and digitalisation are important drivers.
“Miba’s strategic goal is to develop and produce function-critical components along the entire energy value chain and, thus, to contribute to the efficient and sustainable generation, transmission, storage and use of energy. In addition, Miba will continue to use its products to contribute to even more efficient, lower-emission and environmentally friendly conventional and hybrid drives,” Mitterbauer noted. To achieve this goal, the company plans to invest more than €500 million by the 100th anniversary of its founding, in 2027.
In addition to investments in existing business areas, Miba intends to invest more in new business areas, both in organic growth and in acquisitions.
“With all of this, we want to grow sustainably and shape the future proactively,” concluded Mitterbauer.