High profitability further improved – above all as a result of COVID-19

The results were impacted by negative currency developments. However, results in local currencies increased on all levels despite the sales decrease as a result of COVID-19. Operating cashflow (EBITDA) rose by 2.4% to CHF 925 million. The EBITDA margin increased by 170 basis points to 31.0% (previous year 29.3%). This increase in the margin was mainly due to the COVID-19-related cost savings (particularly marketing and travel expenses), the high levels of flexibility in production and logistics, lower raw material prices, the natural currency hedging, and price increases. Thanks to these measures, it was also possible to compensate for the significant tariff-related increases in personnel expenses and additional investments in digitalisation initiatives.

Despite higher amortisation, operating profit (EBIT) increased by 2.0% to CHF 772 million. The EBIT margin reached 25.8%, which was also significantly higher than the previous year (24.5%). Net income dropped slightly by 0.7% to CHF 642 million due to a higher tax rate and a lower financial result, with a return on net sales of 21.5% (previous year 21.0%). Despite the negative currency development, earnings per share of CHF 17.95 remained practically at the previous year’s level (CHF 17.97).

EBIT, EBITDA, Net income, Earnings per share (EPS) 2018–2020

(in CHF million) (EPS: in CHF)

EUR/CHF exchange rates 2019/2020

(Period-end exchange rates)

Operating expenses under control

All items within operating expenses were affected by positive currency effects. The cost of materials dropped by 8.3% to CHF 789 million, representing a lower share of net sales at 26.4%, compared to 27.9% in the previous year. This decline was due to lower prices of raw materials, particularly plastics but also industrial metals. Personnel expenses fell slightly by 0.2% to CHF 750 million, which equates to 25.1% of net sales (previous year 24.4%). The strong tariff-related increases in salaries and higher pension expenses were more than offset by positive currency effects. Other operating expenses fell by 8.0% to CHF 522 million, primarily due to the aforementioned decrease in marketing and travel expenses as a result of COVID-19. At CHF 127 million, depreciation remained at the previous year’s level. Amortisation of intangible assets increased to CHF 27 million (previous year CHF 20 million) as a result of a value adjustment connected to a ceramics brand.

Raw material price development 2016–2020

(Market price; index: December 2015 = 100)

The net financial result fell to CHF -17 million (previous year CHF -14 million) due to higher currency losses as a result of the strong Swiss franc. Tax expenses grew from CHF 96 million to CHF 112 million due to the effects of the corporate tax reform in Switzerland. This resulted in a tax rate of 14.8% (previous year 12.9%).

Further increase in free cashflow

The higher operating cashflow, successful management of net working capital during the crisis and lower investments in property, plant and equipment due to COVID-19 had a positive impact on cashflow. All in all, free cashflow increased by 11.4% to a new record high of CHF 717 million despite negative currency effects (see also Financial Statements of the Geberit Group, Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, 28. Cashflow figures). The free cashflow margin reached 24.0% (previous year 20.9%). CHF 571 million, or 79.6% of the free cashflow, was distributed to shareholders during the reporting year as part of the dividend payment and the share buyback programme.


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