The 2020 financial year
After four good quarters, with particularly strong growth during the second half of the year, we can summarise 2020 as the Group’s best year ever. All our business units surpassed the previous year’s profit levels and reported improved margins. Many of the Group’s companies advanced their market positions, and we completed two supplementary acquisitions within Precision Technology that are further strengthening us as a group.
For the whole year, sales growth amounted to 5 per cent, of which just over 4 per cent was organic. Compared to the previous year, operating profit increased by 19 per cent while the operating margin rose from 10.8 to 12.2 per cent. The profit margin stood at 11.2 per cent (9.9), which means that we clearly exceeded our stated goal of 8 per cent. A high cash flow further confirmed the Group’s healthy financial position.
The first quarter began with stable conditions for all business units. The customer-specific volumes within Industrial Solutions remained at a good level, while activities within project-related operations increased. For Industrial Products, the trend was also positive up until the middle of March, at which point some of the companies in the business unit were affected by production stoppages in the automotive industry resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Within Precision Technology, operations linked primarily to medical technology developed well, while other areas experienced a slightly weaker market climate.
It was possible to retain the margins successfully during the second quarter, despite challenges linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, incoming orders were stronger than in the comparison period. The level of activity was high above all in the medical technology sector, while sales linked to automation projects remained strong.
The Group reported strong development during the third quarter. Both revenue and operating profit increased compared to the previous year. A general stabilisation in demand was experienced in several market sectors, and the indicated upturn within medical technology was greater than expected.
The results during the fourth quarter were strong and exceeded the comparative figures from the corresponding period in the previous year. In terms of the market, too, the year finished in a stable manner, with an improved order situation overall compared to the end of the previous year. Two supplementary acquisitions were carried out within the Precision Technology business unit.