Currency-adjusted net sales growth despite crisis
Consolidated net sales in 2020 decreased by 3.1% to CHF 2,986 million. This development comprised an increase in local currencies of 1.3% and a negative foreign currency effect of 4.4%. Currency-adjusted growth – and thus the gain of further market shares – was achieved despite the significant sales decrease seen in the second quarter as a result of COVID-19. This favourable performance was down to the strong market position, successful crisis management and the conscious decision to not furlough employees in order to also maintain the levels of contact with customers during the lockdown periods.
The currency exchange losses contained in net sales amounted to CHF 136 million. In 2020, 64% of net sales were generated in euros, 10% in Swiss francs, 4% in US dollars, 3% in British pounds and 19% in other currencies.
Net sales development 2011–2020
The following changes in net sales in the markets and product areas are currency-adjusted.
Development on two different paths in the individual markets
In the first half of the year, the construction industry in Europe was negatively impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic from mid-March to May. In the second half of the year, catch-up effects, the renewed build-up of inventories at wholesalers and government stimulus programmes – especially the temporary VAT reduction seen in Germany – led to strong sales growth. In 2020 as a whole, net sales in Europe rose by +2.0%. The development in individual countries and markets varied greatly depending on the extent and length of the lockdown seen in the construction industry in spring. In Germany (+7.3%), Austria (+5.0%), Switzerland (+4.1%), Eastern Europe (+3.2%) and the Nordic Countries (+2.9%), construction sites saw only limited restrictions and pleasing growth in currency-adjusted net sales was achieved across the year as a whole. Due to more restricted construction activities in Belgium, the Benelux Countries remained at the previous year’s level. In contrast, the markets most seriously affected by the building site closures – the United Kingdom/Ireland (-15.7%), the Iberian Peninsula (-10.9%), Italy (-8.3%) and France (-6.9%) – still saw a significant drop in currency-adjusted net sales after twelve months. The negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to be felt in regions outside Europe – in the Middle East/Africa (-14.1%) and Far East/Pacific (-7.2%). Net sales in America rose by +1.7%.
Net sales by markets/regions in 2020
Bathroom Systems with the strongest growth
In the product areas, Bathroom Systems saw the strongest growth at +2.3%. This growth was the result of positive developments seen across the entire product range in general in this product area, despite the switch from local ceramics brands to the Geberit brand that continued in the reporting year. The Geberit AquaClean shower toilet business saw particularly strong growth thanks to new products launched in recent years. Furthermore, the strong demand for products that focus on hygiene – such as touchless faucets, actuator plates and urinals as well as sanitary flush units – resulting from COVID-19 was a growth driver.
Net sales in the Installation and Flushing Systems product area increased by +2.1%. As in previous years, this growth was driven by two factors: firstly, Installation and Flushing Systems saw accelerated growth in the European expansion markets as a result of synergies from the integration of the ceramics business. Secondly, Geberit was also able to gain market shares in Central European markets through the sale of higher-added-value products and products that had been launched for the first time in earlier years.
In contrast, the Piping Systems product area saw a slight fall of -0.8%, which was mainly due to the weaker new construction and project business.