“In 2020 I used the words ‘we have a very healthy balance sheet.’ For 2021, health has increased! We saw an increase in turnover of just over 8%. We set our target for 2021 to reach the €1 billion turnover mark and we reached this milestone, ending the year €30 million over,” says CFO Hans Scholten.
“Of course, it is just a number, but it is especially positive when you consider that we divested from our wind industry service in Denmark and China, which was not part of our core business yet had a €17 million turnover in 2020. It is worth celebrating, while aiming for further growth ahead. We have now set a new target for 2025 of €1.5 billion, which we are confident of achieving. We have learned that in our existing market we are able to increase both market share and turnover. Looking at our performance in 2021, most countries increased their turnover, with some excellent growth in France (+ 16%), the UK (+ 12%) and Italy (+ 27%).”
“On the personnel side, absenteeism due to COVID-19 symptoms – particularly in functions which cannot be performed at home, such as Operations - remains a challenge. Absences have increased costs as well as affected productivity. We have also been unable to fill all of our vacancies, with reduced workforce availability across Europe and all functions. Another reason our personnel costs are higher is one I’m happy about: we were able to pay out a larger profit share, thanks to our increased bottom-line results in 2021.
COVID-19 has also led to packaging costs being higher, with wood and cardboard costs €1.8 million higher than we foresaw. Container costs have increased some 50-60% compared with 2020, due to a worldwide scarcity. In distribution to our customers, we see increasing rates from distributors, a scarcity of truck drivers and increased fuel prices, all of which are driving up our costs.
“Internally, we increased productivity thanks to efficiencies and greater capacity in our warehousing. These advances have lowered our relative costs.
“Our travel costs in 2021 as well as in 2020 were much lower than pre-COVID-19. I expect them to remain lower during 2022 and beyond, because we have learned that working from home is a viable alternative for at least some of the work we have previously carried out on location.
“Good news too on the financing side: our debts have decreased and interest rates were lower, resulting in some 20% reduced interest costs – which adds to our bottom line. During 2020 several currencies, for example the Russian ruble and the Polish złoty, devalued, which hit us hard. In 2021 the situation was more stable and some currencies recovered, including the Russian ruble and the UK pound, so there was a small profit in foreign exchange.
“Overall, we have an operational result that is 15% higher, reaching a level of €93 million. We anticipate a similar operational result for 2022, with the increases in salaries, energy, fuel, packaging and higher inflation counterbalancing the projected increase in turnover.”
“We have learned that in our existing market we are able to increase both market share and turnover.”
- Eddie Perdok