- Net income despite a challenging 2021.
- High demand for e-mobility products.
- 2022 with accelerated transformation and clear sustainability strategy.
Esslingen (Germany) – For the Eberspaecher Group, the 2021 fiscal year was a year of transformation that also saw severe impacts to supply chains. With net revenue down slightly to 2.3 billion euros, the Esslingen-based company achieved a consolidated net income of 21.0 million euros. Eberspaecher is continuing its transformation in the current fiscal year and aims to generate 47% of its net revenue independently of the passenger car combustion engine in 2025. With the financing secured, the future-oriented refinement is reflected both in the expansion of the management team and in new products. The Group-wide sustainability strategy also aims to achieve CO2-neutral production by 2030.
In 2021, all three Divisions of the Eberspaecher Group of Companies felt the consequences of the global shortage of semiconductors and commodities. This resulted in a fall in net revenue of -1.2% to EUR 2.3 billion. Consolidated revenue headed in the opposite direction: At around EUR 6.0 billion, it was significantly higher than the previous annual figure (EUR 4.9 billion). The steep rise was due to higher prices for precious metals used in catalysts. These prices, however, do not contain a value-adding share for Eberspaecher. The Group of Companies was also targeted by hackers last October, the consequences of which are still being felt. Despite the difficult circumstances, a positive operating result (EBIT) of EUR 52.8 million (previous year: EUR 33.5 million) and a consolidated net income of EUR 21.0 million (previous year: EUR -42,9 million) were reached. Around 84% of revenues were generated outside Germany. Globally, the company employed an average of 10,600 employees at 80 sites.
The 2021 fiscal year was marked by transformation – this included the greater operational independence of the Exhaust Systems Division under the Purem by Eberspaecher brand as well as the entry into fuel cell technology with the acquisition of VAIREX air systems. “All Divisions of the Eberspaecher Group have convincing products with great potential for success – and this is confirmed by the steady demand from our customers”, says Managing Partner Martin Peters, summing up the fiscal year. “In 2021”, he explains further, “outside influences and difficult structural conditions prevented the realization of higher net revenues.”
Purem by Eberspaecher
Since May 2021, the Exhaust Technology Division of the Group of Companies has been operating under the Purem by Eberspaecher brand. It generated a gross revenue of around EUR 5.3 billion (previous year: EUR 4.4 billion). This large increase gives a distorted picture, as it is largely driven by rising raw commodity prices for monoliths used in exhaust systems. Net revenue adjusted for this effect amounted to EUR 1.6 billion, which was a fall of 6.3% year-on-year. The fiscal year was marked by sharp fluctuations in customer call-offs – a consequence of the ongoing global supply bottlenecks for various components in the automotive sector. While revenues in Asia fell significantly, in Europe and the Americas they nevertheless matched the previous year’s level. To handle newly won customer orders in North and South America, the production facilities in Brazil and the USA were expanded. Development activities for clean mobility focused on new products to meet upcoming emissions standards, such as Euro 7 and their global counterparts, along with solutions for fuel cell applications and the hydrogen engine.
High demand for e-mobility products
The transformation towards e-mobility is illustrated by increased revenues in the Climate Control Systems Division. The Division, which specializes in thermal management products, generated revenue of EUR 604.2 million in 2021 (previous year: EUR 518.4 million). Despite the semiconductor crisis, the Electrical Heaters Business Unit recorded the biggest jump in revenue: It scored with its products (high-voltage heaters) for plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles in Europe and China. The Special Markets also grew, particularly with heating and air conditioning products for motorhomes, ambulances and utility vehicles. Bus & Coach revenues regained some ground in 2021, but did not reach pre-crisis levels due to ongoing mobility restrictions caused by the Covid pandemic, particularly in the coach segment. In the traditional fuel-operated heater systems area, revenues increased slightly, driven in particular by the US commercial vehicle segment.
Demand for electronics products for e-mobility and autonomous driving from the Automotive Controls Division rose to a very high level in 2021. Due to the semiconductor shortage and disruptions in global supply chains, however, this could not be covered. The Division’s revenue of EUR 47.1 million was therefore moderately down on the previous year (EUR 50.1 million).
Outlook: Accelerated transformation, secured financing, and a clear sustainability strategy
Business performance in 2022 continues to be affected by the ongoing Covid pandemic, semiconductor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks, as well as geopolitical uncertainties. “The transformation of our industry continues to accelerate”, Peters summarizes. “We have”, he adds, “a clear strategy for this, and by 2025 we will be generating around 47 percent of our net revenue from products that are independent of the passenger car combustion engine. We are continuing to take a targeted approach in developing both our organization and our product portfolio in existing and new business areas.” To this end Eberspaecher is investing in Ruse, Bulgaria, in a plant for electrical high-voltage heaters, which are used in particular in electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in Europe. At the Hannover Messe 2022 the supplier presented new products for fuel-cell systems and hydrogen engines. Against this backdrop, the company is also expanding its Executive Board to seven members as of July 2022. Financing for the coming years is based on a newly concluded syndicated loan agreement. “Based on our future-oriented portfolio, this will help us shape the transformation in a strengthened manner”, says Peters, looking ahead.
Another integral part of the forward-looking activities of the Group of Companies are its intensified sustainability activities: Based on the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the United Nations, Eberspaecher has derived three fields of action: Green Footprint — Innovation — People. Overall, 21% fewer production-related CO2 emissions (t CO2/CO2e) have been generated so far compared with the previous year. A decisive step in this direction has already been taken with the subscription for green electricity for the German sites in 2021. The goal is to achieve CO2-neutral production by 2030. Further information can be found in the newly published Sustainability Report 2021.
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