Uzin Utz, a globally active full-service provider for flooring systems headquartered in Ulm, Germany, presented its business figures for 2021 at a virtual press conference. Despite the corona pandemic and tense supply chains, the group once again posted record figures for turnover and results. The company reports a consolidated turnover of 440.1 million euros after 383.6 million euros in the previous year. This corresponds to a growth in turnover of 14.7 percent. At 47.5 million euros, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), with an increase of 18.5 percent, are also significantly higher than in the previous year (40.1 million euros).
Despite continuing restrictions on economic activities and ongoing challenges in the supply chains due to the Corona pandemic, sales and earnings of the Uzin Utz Group in 2021 increased more strongly than initially forecast. “We are very pleased with the performance of the 2021 financial year,” says Heinz Leibundgut, Chief Financial Officer of Uzin Utz. “The revenue increases are mainly the result of projects that we were able to realise in the first half of 2021. They were initially frozen in 2020 and successfully implemented last year. In addition, special effects in the first half of 2021 led to positive earnings developments. Further savings were achieved in the area of other operating expenses, such as travel and event costs,” says Leibundgut.
After the Corona year 2020, 2021 was also characterised by massive global challenges. Supply bottlenecks as well as the scarce availability of freight space led to significant price jumps in raw material procurement and logistics as early as January 2021. Driven by further economic stimulus programmes in the USA and China as well as a fundamentally very high global demand, the price situation worsened in the course of the year. “In view of the continuing very good demand for Uzin Utz products and services, as well as an optimal purchasing strategy, we succeeded through a great deal of strength and discipline in continuing to grow profitably and, above all, in guaranteeing the ability to deliver”, Heinz Leibundgut continues.
The export ratio rose from 61.3 percent to around 64.2 percent and remains at a very high level.
In the home market of Germany and the Netherlands, the company was able to consolidate its position as market leader and full-range supplier in the flooring sector, and in some other markets, such as the USA, market shares were expanded.
Tougher macroeconomic challenges
Since February 2022, the macroeconomic risks have massively intensified. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine significantly increases the uncertainties for economic development throughout Europe and beyond. Nevertheless, the Executive Board of Uzin Utz AG basically assumes a good market demand. Moderate growth is expected for Group sales in 2022, with continuing bottlenecks in the supply chains. With regard to the development of material costs, the company assumes – starting from the already very high level – further noticeable increases in the course of 2022. EBIT is expected to reach a level below the previous year due to the rapidly rising price developments, especially in the raw materials, logistics and energy sectors.
The forecast does not yet take into account further negative effects of the war, which cannot be assessed conclusively. “A precise assessment of how the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia will affect our business cannot be made at present due to the rapidly changing circumstances. We are working intensively to assess possible effects on a current basis and to develop plans for both the near and the medium to long-term future,” explains Heinz Leibundgut.
Strategic goals remain in focus
With the aim of creating sustainable value for all stakeholders, Uzin Utz is consistently implementing its corporate strategy PASSION 2025 and continues to invest in the future: a total of EUR 35.8 million in 2021 and a further EUR 45.7 million is planned for 2022. The focus is on creating a second production company in the USA and expanding the production site in the Netherlands. Real estate purchases and expansions at the German locations are also included in the investment sum. In the strategic fields of action Profit, Products & Services and Planet, Uzin Utz is sticking to the target figures of the strategy.
Expenditure on research and development reached €11.3 million in the 2021 financial year (€10.7 million in the previous year) – once again one of the highest sums since the 111-year-old company was founded. Around 129 employees were able to drive forward 130 innovation projects in international teams at eleven development locations in the past year.
The number of employees increased from 1,335 to 1,395 (excluding trainees). Of these, 655 were employed by companies abroad.
The entrepreneurial activities at Uzin Utz are characterised by a consistent sustainability policy. “Sustainability is the core element of our corporate strategy, which as a central control element provides the framework for action within Uzin Utz. Environmental and climate protection have a high priority,” says Leibundgut. Through responsible and efficient handling of the environment and resources, Uzin Utz strives to continuously improve the ecological footprint of the Ulm site and in all Uzin Utz companies. The overarching goal for 2025 is to reduce emissions by 25 per cent across the company.