OECHSLER Group successfully concludes challenging 2020 business year

Innovative technologies set path for long-growth potentials
  • Group turnover falls by 20.5 percent to 378.2 million euros as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Growth in the Healthcare Division, sales declines in the Automotive and Innovative Solutions Divisions
  • Rising global demand for innovative assemblies and 3D printing applications opens up outstanding long-term growth opportunities
  • Return to growth path expected in 2021

The OECHSLER Group, a leading polymer technology group with a global presence and its headquarters in
Ansbach/Middle Franconia, has successfully concluded the 2020 business year, which was strongly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Particularly due to the expansion of additive manufacturing as a second manufacturing technology alongside precision polymer injection molding, significant progress was made in the reporting year. Group revenue declined to €378.2 million (2019: €475.8 million), primarily due to the pandemic-related drop in demand in the global automotive industry. Post-Covid, the management sees excellent growth prospects for OECHSLER as a market-driven developer and manufacturer of technologically complex assemblies as well as through the development of new product and customer segments in 3D printing manufacturing.

The group is engaged in the business areas Automotive, Healthcare, and Innovative Solutions at three German and seven production locations worldwide. In the past year, the Healthcare division developed the best with a jump in sales of 17.3 percent from 13.9 to 16.3 million euros and was clearly above plan. The driver was the dynamically increasing demand for the complex assemblies and individual components produced by OECHSLER, which are used, among other things, in inhalers and blood glucose meters as well as medical devices with integrated displays.

The Automotive business segment, on the other hand, was strongly affected by the pandemic effects and the weak demand in the automotive market with a decline in sales from 297.6 to 233.5 million euros (minus 21.5 percent). Here, OECHSLER primarily produces electronic parking brakes (EPB) and assistance systems for autonomous driving as well as aesthetically and haptically appealing gear selectors, infotainment operating systems and climate control units using ceramic injection molding.

Sales in the Innovative Solutions business segment decreased from € 164.2 million to € 128.3 million (down 21.9 percent). This decline primarily resulted from one-off effects due to the realignment of the cooperation with adidas. New and successful product partnerships such as American football helmets with market leader Riddell were not yet able to compensate for this development in the reporting year. The Innovative Solutions business segment is a central element of OECHSLER's strategy for the future and comprises the plastic-based 3D printing production in Ansbach-Brodswinden as well as Taicang (China), in which special materials are used to produce, among other things, compressive lattice structures. Due to their special properties, these materials are suitable, for example, as damping elements in protective sports equipment or for energy recovery in sports shoes.

Due to the pandemic, 2020 was a challenging year for our customers - and thus also for us. We see ourselves all the more encouraged to stick to our strategy of cautious diversification. At the same time, we have established additive manufacturing as a second manufacturing technology alongside injection moulding - one of the fastest growing production technologies of the future.

Claudius Kozlik
Chief Executive Officer

Moderate decrease in employment and further expansion of R&D capacities

Moderate decrease in employment and further expansion of R&D capacities
With OECHSLER AG, the OECHSLER Group is one of the 15 largest employers in the manufacturing industry in Middle Franconia. In 2020, under the difficult conditions caused by the pandemic, the number of employees at the German sites was reduced only moderately and exclusively through natural fluctuation. At the end of the year, OECHSLER had just under 3,000 employees, a good 300 fewer than in the previous year. Of these, about 1,400, including more than 80 trainees, were employed at the OECHSLER sites in Ansbach, Weißenburg (OECHSLER AG) and Ansbach-Brodswinden (OECHSLER Motion GmbH) - and thus about 50 employees less than in the previous year.

In the reporting year, OECHSLER continued to expand its personnel capacities in the area of research and development, whose importance for the Group in Germany and at the headquarters in Ansbach is continuously increasing. In addition to polymer injection molding, additive manufacturing and the broader application of OECHSLER's actuator expertise are the focal points of the work here.

The focus of the Group's investment activities, which were more restrained than in previous years due to the business development in the reporting year, was on technical equipment and machinery as well as on land and buildings. The total investment volume in 2020 amounted to €19.3 million (2019: €73.7 million), of which €10.3 million (2019: €22.4 million) was in Germany. Investments of around 40 million euros are planned for 2021. The goal is to further strengthen all locations of the entire Group.

Great market potential through new applications and innovative production technologies

Dr Claudius M. Kozlik, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OECHSLER AG, emphasised on the occasion of the presentation of the annual results: "Due to the pandemic, 2020 was a challenging year for our customers - and thus also for us. We see ourselves all the more encouraged to stick to our strategy of cautious diversification. Our international footprint with a presence in North America, Europe and Asia enables us to supply global customers locally with our innovative products and assemblies. At the same time, we have established additive manufacturing as a second manufacturing technology alongside injection moulding - one of the fastest growing production technologies of the future. Here, OECHSLER already holds a global and leading position in the market today and is thus opening up new customer segments beyond the automotive sector. In the medium term, the transformation into a market-driven developer and manufacturer of technologically complex assemblies offers further considerable strategic potential."

Michael Meyer, CFO of OECHSLER AG, added: "Employees, management and owners of OECHSLER have accepted the challenge of the Corona pandemic and can be proud of the past fiscal year today: Despite considerable declines in our sales markets Automotive and Innovative Solutions, we were able to completely refrain from layoffs and make all important investments for the future. With an equity ratio of 52.5 percent, which is high in comparison to the rest of the industry, and access to sufficient liquidity, the Group continues to be in a rock-solid financial position and will emerge stronger from the Covid-19 crisis in the long term. The Handelsblatt has recognised OECHSLER's excellent prospects and has once again named us one of the fastest-growing medium-sized companies in German industry in 2020."

Global supply problems slow sales recovery in 2021

The OECHSLER Group sees itself well positioned for the future, although a return to the sales level Pre-Covid is not yet expected for 2021. In addition to the consequences of the pandemic, this is also due to the ongoing undersupply of semiconductors and other raw materials and intermediate products, which repeatedly lead to longer production downtimes in the automotive industry, each of which then affects OECHSLER. The imminent shift towards electromobility, on the other hand, will have hardly any impact on the company, because for a large part of the products manufactured by OECHSLER in the Automotive business segment, such as the electronic parking brake (EPB), there is a high and rising demand in the long term, regardless of the type of drive. Furthermore, areas such as robotics require actuator technology related to the EPB and thus offer dynamic growth and diversification potential for OECHSLER.

In recent years, the Group has built up comprehensive expertise in 3D printing technology that is unique in the plastics sector. There are therefore great growth opportunities for the OECHSLER Group in this area, as shown, for example, by the successful cooperation with the US market leader for football helmets, Riddell, and the additive manufacturing of damping-optimized bicycle saddles.


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