Germany’s Schunk Group has reported a challenging fiscal year in 2020, in which it saw sales fall 11.6% to €1.198 billion due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The slump in the automotive industry, our most important sales market, was particularly drastic, especially the European market, which is important for Schunk,” explained Dr Arno Roth, CEO of the Schunk Group. “The railroad market, which is also important for Schunk, was similarly hard hit.”
Despite this, the technology company states that it remains in a stable position. “2020 was a challenging fiscal year,” continued Roth. “However, we were prepared for a crisis scenario and were, therefore, able to implement countermeasures early and decisively. This enabled us to mitigate the effects of the crisis.”
As part of its mitigation efforts, Schunk states that it achieved a comparatively good result and further increased its already good equity ratio to now 68.6%. This also enabled a coronavirus special payment to be made to the approximately 9,000 employees worldwide, who will also reportedly receive a profit-sharing payment for 2020 this year.
“Our strategically diversified business has undoubtedly helped us during the crisis,” added Roth. With a total of ten business units, the technology company is active in a range of different industries. “This orientation already proved to be very stable during the financial crisis in 2009 and has proven itself again now – in conjunction with the high financial stability of the Schunk Group.”
Schunk’s portfolio includes slip rings for power transmission in a wind turbine as well as vacuum coating systems for the production of high-quality eyeglass lenses. “The core of our business is, on the one hand, our expertise in high-tech materials such as carbon, technical ceramics and sintered metal and, on the other hand, our high level of competence in mechanical engineering in the areas of environmental simulation, air-conditioning technology, ultrasonic welding and optical machines,” Roth continued.
Despite the impact of the coronavirus, the group was able to maintain its high level of investment. In 2020, €97.1 million was spent on, among other things, the construction of two new innovation centres s at the group’s Heuchelheim and Reiskirchen sites. The sites are scheduled to open in the autumn of 2021 and comprise an investment volume of almost €30 million. The group also built and moved into a new site near Salzburg last year.
So far, the Schunk Group has avoided coronavirus infection chains in operations worldwide and has enabled its employees to work on the move wherever possible.
Roth concluded, “The pandemic will continue to occupy us throughout 2021 and probably beyond. Uncertainty in our business areas remains high. But we do not want to and will not let this slow us down.”