Segment Access Solutions EMEA5 min.
Sales and profitability negatively impacted by Covid-19 pandemic
AS EMEA generated total sales of CHF 696.1 million in the financial year 2019/20. Organic sales for the full year were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic with 5.7% below previous year’s level despite organic growth during the first nine months of the financial year 2019/20. Segment EBITDA reached CHF 45.5 million, which is 19.8% lower than a year earlier (CHF 56.7 million).
The EBITDA margin reached 6.5% (previous year 7.3%). Volumes dropped substantially during the last four months of the financial year as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Strong cost management, reduction of personnel expenses (including furlough compensation and overtime reduction), efficiency improvements, and procurement savings could partly offset the negative volume impact.
As part of the Group-wide cost savings and restructuring program to address the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic-related volume contraction and to maintain operational and financial efficiency, AS EMEA has adjusted its market organizations with an overall headcount reduction of around 150 (around 5% of total AS EMEA headcount) through the consolidation of certain regional support functions and business model alignments.
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AS EMEA experienced organic growth in the first nine months of the financial year 2019/20 which was driven by high single-digit growth rates in most markets in Central & Eastern Europe as well as double digit growth in Turkey. The UK and Benelux as well as South Europe also contributed to organic growth in the first nine months, the latter region with both solid product and project business activity in France.
All markets were to some degree negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic during the last four months of financial year 2019/20. The Covid-19 impact was significant in South Europe in countries such as Italy, France and Spain, followed by UK and Benelux (where only Netherlands continued to achieve solid growth), in Middle East & Africa and Central & Eastern Europe (especially Russia), whereas the Covid-19 impact in Scandinavia was less pronounced. Even stable business activities such as Services were negatively impacted due to restricted access to customer premises during lockdown.
Overall, for the financial year 2019/20, the region Central & Eastern Europe continued to deliver solid growth in most markets except Russia. In addition, Saudi Arabia, Finland and Netherlands were other countries with growth despite Covid-19.
Assuming no further disruptions related to Covid-19, AS EMEA expects a gradual improvement in the first quarter of financial year 2020/21 (as compared to the fourth quarter of financial year 2019/20) with the completion of previously delayed projects and stronger products sales. There will continue to be a negative impact of Covid-19 during the financial year 2020/21 with the return to stable business as individual countries open up post lockdown. Therefore, sales for the first half of financial year 2020/21 are expected to be lower than previous year.
As of 1 January 2020, the segment is led by a new COO, Steve Bewick. Steve and his team have successfully addressed structural issues in Scandinavia, and EBITDA in Sweden has significantly improved. The Norwegian business will improve operational efficiency through the divestment of its project installation business as well as enhanced business model. The divestment includes approximately 80 employees and is expected to close end of August 2020.
The segment will continue to introduce new and innovative solutions, such as an automatic door system that uses 3D and thermal imaging to control the flow of people in stores and meets the legal requirements of several countries imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This innovative solution was developed in only two months and launched in June 2020. AS EMEA has already received a major order in the UK, which also includes a service component.
Key figures - segment AS EMEA
CHF million, except where indicated
Financial year ended 30.06.2020
Financial year ended 30.06.2019
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Total segment sales
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Operating profit before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)
Average number of full-time equivalent employees