Confidence generated through recovery from third quarter onwards
2020 Financial Report: Häfele Group with a 7.3 percent decline in revenue
In 2020, the crisis-ridden year of the pandemic, the international Häfele Group for hardware technology, electronic access control systems and LED lighting, recorded a decline in revenue of 7.3 percent (-4.6% when adjusted for currency effects), down to 1.39 billion Euros. With the significant recovery commencing in the third quarter, the effects of the global crisis were kept within manageable limits according to the company management.
During October to December of 2020, group revenue had returned to the levels for the same period of the previous year. Once adjusted for currency effects, this period actually registered growth of 5% compared to the same period of the previous year. This has raised hopes for 2021.
Internationality as an anchor of stability
As was the case with the global financial crisis of 2009 when Häfele sustained an even greater decline in revenue, here again in this new crisis the Black Forest-based family business benefited from its international diversification. Having a presence in 150 countries once more proved to be an anchor for stability, as demonstrated by the company’s figures and the developments seen in various regions of the world.
The parent company’s business in Germany remained more or less stable, posting a downturn of 1.3%, whereas Western Europe reported a decline of 9.3%. The United Kingdom, Italy and Spain suffered the largest drops in revenue in this region. Even greater falls of -20% occurred in South and South East Asia (incl. India), whereas other regions, such as East Asia and Oceania, with their key markets of Australia and China, actually closed slightly ahead of the previous year’s figures, as did Eastern Europe.
Project business under pressure
One major factor in Häfele’s decline in revenue was the global shut-down of business and tourist travel. This was felt particularly strongly in the Asian markets. With its 360° project service in the hospitality sector, Häfele had positioned itself very positively in those regions in recent years, but numerous projects were halted in 2020.
On the other hand, Häfele’s long-standing joiners/cabinet makers segment proved itself to be extremely crisis-resistant throughout the world. The situation was completely different in the furniture industry, where things proved to be extremely volatile. It began with a sharp drop followed by a rapid recovery due to the “homing” trend triggered by the pandemic.
Adapting to the pandemic
In view of the situation, the Häfele Group adopted measures to secure the supply chain already from February 2020 on – including after the crisis has ended – and to more closely interlink the Group’s companies. Global demand was compared against global inventories to improve the supply of products to customers even more. The streamlined stock management operation enabled the business to remain ready to deliver throughout the year, without any notable bottlenecks. The supply of necessary stocks to the companies was secured.
Overall, during the course of the year Häfele responded quickly and dynamically to the adversities and challenges presented by the pandemic. All the working processes in all parts of the business were adapted to the risks of the pandemic within the briefest of time and with a tremendous effort from the workforce, Comprehensive rules applied within the Administration department, for home-office working, in Logistics and in Sales ensured that operations continued without interruption.
“As all of us have found out, the pandemic has taken its own unpredictable, uncontrollable dynamic course”, is how Managing Director, Sibylle Thierer, sums it up. Häfele’s performance for all of 2020 was better than what had been predicted in May. The upswing during autumn had such a positive effect that the huge impact – predicted as late as the second quarter – of the virus pandemic on Häfele’s business for the whole year, was greatly mitigated.
In view of the lessons learned, the company will proceed cautiously into 2021. Planned investments totalling 60 million are to be seen within a strategic context, and will be made in Logistics, IT-based processes as well as new services to ease the burden on customers. All in all, Häfele is looking towards the new year with confidence.
This is boosted by the knowledge that, viewed over the medium term, nothing remains of the much larger dent made by the global financial crisis of 2009. “Häfele has the courage, the creativity and the energy to emerge strengthened from a crisis. We’ll also tackle the crisis of 2020-21 with optimism and, as a family business with a long-term mindset, we’ll also look for the opportunities that open up for us”, says Sibylle Thierer.
Further information is available from
Tobias Brenner, Häfele SE & Co KG,
Postfach 12 37, D-72192 Nagold,
Phone: +49 7452 95-391, Fax: +49 7452 95-283,