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Endress+Hauser Group exceeds 2021 financial year expectations

April 5, 2022

Endress+Hauser shipped 2.6 million measuring instruments last year.

For the financial year 2021, Endress+Hauser exceeded its own expectations. The measurement and automation technology specialist achieved new records in incoming orders, sales, profit and headcount, and continued to carry this momentum into the new year. Although the Ukraine conflict is dampening hopes for continuation of the solid growth, the company considers itself well equipped for a difficult economic environment.

Endress+Hauser delivered 2.6 million instruments in 2021. “Our customers placed a high degree of trust in us,” said CEO Matthias Altendorf at the annual media conference in Basel. “They were able to rely on us after the outbreak of the pandemic, and we were a reliable partner once demand picked up again.”

For years, Endress+Hauser has placed a strategic focus on process and laboratory analysis. In process measurement technology, modern analysis methods provided impetus.

Despite strains on the procurement markets and logistics chains, the company ensured material availability around the world and maintained its high delivery performance.

Broad-based growth

As a result, Endress+Hauser could not only build on the pre-Covid period but significantly improve key business metrics. Net sales rose 11.7% to 2.879 billion euros. The Group experienced dynamic growth in Asia and America, and a solid performance in Europe. While Africa was up, business in the Middle East, with its heavy dependence on the oil & gas industry, suffered a decline. China extended its lead as the company’s strongest sales market, followed by the United States and Germany.  

Incoming orders were some 5 percentage points higher than sales growth. Behind this development the CEO sees catch-up effects, as well as renewed demand in nearly all industries. Advanced analysis and industrial digitalization provided an impetus for the process instrumentation business. In the laboratory instrumentation business, which had been boosted by the demand for PCR diagnostics in 2020, the Analytik Jena subsidiary experienced strong growth through chemical analysis products.

Endress+Hauser intends to significantly increase its commitment to training once again, doubling the number of positions for interns, apprentices, trainees and students over the next few years.

Vocational training campaign and focus on sustainability

The family-owned company had 15,117 employees worldwide at the end of 2021, 663 more than the year before. New jobs were created primarily in production. Nearly all apprentices were offered positions in the company upon completion of their training. Endress+Hauser wants to strengthen its commitment to vocational training and eventually double the number of apprentices, students and interns over the coming years. 

In the independent EcoVadis sustainability audit, Endress+Hauser scored 76 points, four more than the previous year. That puts the company in the top percentile of the comparison group. In addition, the company has created the position of corporate social responsibility officer at Group level. She will be responsible for further developing and driving forward the implementation of the sustainability strategy.

Scores of innovations, extensive investments

Of the more than 70 product innovations introduced by the company last year, many are related to digitalization. In 2021 Endress+Hauser spent 213.4 million euros on research and development, roughly 7.4% of sales and an increase of 9.4% over the prior year. 258 initial patent filings around the world testify to the Group’s spirit of innovation. The intellectual property portfolio currently encompasses 8,600 active patents and patent filings.

Endress+Hauser launched more than 70 product innovations in 2021 – many of them related to the topic of digitalization.

Endress+Hauser invested 192.8 million euros in 2021 (6.4%less than 2020). Currently staff are moving into new buildings in Reinach, Switzerland. Construction projects are still underway at production sites in Gerlingen and Waldheim, Germany, and Aurangabad, India. The largest projects include an expansion of production facilities in Maulburg, Germany, and Suzhou, China. Sales centers in Mexico and Finland will be constructing their own buildings, whereas the subsidiaries in Australia and Argentina will purchase premises.

Above-average rise in profit

Exchange rates had minimal impact in 2021 according to CFO Dr Luc Schultheiss’ report. Depreciation of the euro decreased sales by half of a percentage point. While expenses for materials, logistics and personnel rose, costs for business travel, customer support and trade fairs remained under the level of previous years, owing to the Covid pandemic. As a result, operating expenses grew below average. Operating profit (EBIT) increased 28.8% to 434 million euros.

Due in part to the fact that financial investments generated a solid return last year, profit before taxes (EBT) improved 37.4% to 463.8 million euros. Return on sales (ROS) climbed three points to 16.1%. Net income grew 40% to 356.8 million euros due to a lower tax rate. The equity ratio reached 79.1%, an increase of 2.1 percentage points. The company has virtually no bank debt.

Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group.

War in Ukraine overshadows outlook

Endress+Hauser started the year with records in order backlog, and incoming orders were above plan for the first quarter. Although the Group planned growth in the upper-single-digit range for 2022, at the moment it is uncertain whether this target is attainable.

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine changed everything overnight,” Altendorf said. “This conflict is bringing suffering to millions of people and is impacting many companies at a time when the pandemic is far from over.”

Endress+Hauser stopped all deliveries to Russia at the beginning of the invasion. “We will adhere to the full scope of the sanctions,” Altendorf said. “At the same time we have a responsibility to our employees and customers in Russia.”

Dr Klaus Endress, Supervisory Board President of the Endress+Hauser Group.

The sales center in Russia employs 182 people. The Group wants to continue delivering to companies that supply civil society and are not subject to sanctions, such as those in the food & beverage, life sciences and water & wastewater industries.

Strong community within the Group

“What’s important is not whether we by any means reach our financial targets, but that we continue to provide our customers with the best possible support in this situation,” said Dr. Klaus Endress, president of the Supervisory Board. 

The employees and management of the Group have the full trust of the Supervisory Board and the shareholder family. 

“We will stand together in the company and be there for our employees. Together, we will get through these challenging times and continue to be a reliable partner for our customers," Dr. Klaus Endress added.

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