Zeppelin Group increases sales despite crisis and presents solid result
Group looks to the future with cautious optimism
Group sales: EUR 3.3 billion
EBITDA: EUR 394 million
Group earnings before taxes on income and earnings: EUR 125 million
All strategic business units contribute to the positive result
Given the challenging environment, Group management is very pleased with the
performance in the 2020 financial year and is cautiously optimistic about the future
Friedrichshafen / Garching near Munich, March 26, 2021. The Zeppelin Group closes the 2020 financial year with another increase in sales and earnings (EBITDA) and also presents very solid earnings before taxes. With Group sales of EUR 3.3 billion (previous year: EUR 3.1 billion), an EBITDA of EUR 394 million (previous year: EUR 376 million) and a net profit before tax of EUR 125 million (previous year: EUR 134 million), the Group once again was able to increase its sales and report a very attractive result despite pandemic-related pressure and integration expenses for acquisitions made in the previous year. Creditreform Rating AG rated the creditworthiness of the company above average in 2020, awarding it an "A" rating. The total investment volume for 2020 was EUR 203 million. The Zeppelin Group is cautiously optimistic for 2021 and expects steady growth in the relevant markets despite the unresolved COVID-19 pandemic.
"With the global COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has presented Zeppelin with major challenges. The experience we gained during the 2008/2009 financial crisis and the strategy we developed as a result are key reasons why Zeppelin has overcome the situation so well. Sales and earnings in 2020 prove that the Group is holding its ground in a difficult market environment and is a reliable key figure for customers and business partners," says Peter Gerstmann, Chairman of the Management Board of Zeppelin GmbH, commenting on the result. "More than anything, it is the people who make Zeppelin. We are proud of the commitment and tireless devotion of all Zeppelin employees in this difficult environment."
Christian Dummler, Managing Director and CFO of Zeppelin GmbH, adds: "Zeppelin reacted very quickly to the new situation and set up crisis management to ensure our range of services for our customers and to safeguard internal performance in the areas of HR, finance, IT services and infrastructure. The excellent collaboration between the crisis management teams, general management and employee representatives, as well as the Supervisory Board, has made the good results of the 2020 financial year possible. Creditreform Rating AG sees things the same way and in autumn 2020 gave the Zeppelin Group an above-average rating of "A" – the package of measures that we quickly implemented against the backdrop of the pandemic, as well as an adequate focus on the future and investments in the contemporary expansion of infrastructure and IT systems were positive factors in the assessment. We see this as confirmation that we are on the right path."
"Zeppelin can boast that all employees have taken on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic together and implemented the necessary measures consistently and quickly. In 2020, our main focus was to secure our operational capacity as a company, protect our employees, and ensure the financial independence of our company. The 'We are Zeppelin' idea and exemplary corporate culture supported the Group through this difficult time," concludes Andreas Brand, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Zeppelin Group.
As a whole, the Zeppelin Group was affected by the pandemic in many ways. Temporary uncertainty in the markets, slow public procurement, and closed construction sites due to partial lockdown in some of the markets relevant to Zeppelin led to a noticeable drop in the market and sales of construction equipment. The cancellation of major events and the delayed award of contracts in motorway construction had a detrimental impact on the rental business, and the standstill in the cruise ships segment significantly impaired Zeppelin’s business with engines and propulsion units. In addition to COVID-19, the markets in Eastern Europe and Russia were heavily affected by sanctions and geopolitical tensions due to armed conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan, domestic conflicts in Belarus, and political interdependencies in Russia.
Plant Engineering suffered from the fact that, despite the high volume of projects, only minor awards were made due to the limited travel options.
The integration of the newly acquired service and sales territories for Caterpillar products in Sweden, Denmark, and Greenland was in line with expectations and enabled the Group to grow its sales again despite the difficult environment. Adjusted for the sales growth arising from the acquisition of the previous year, sales actually fell by five percent due to the effects of the pandemic. Accordingly, net profit after tax was affected by the expenses for the integration of the new business and the actual decline in volume. Earnings (EBITDA)
adjusted for depreciation rose again compared to the previous year and show the actual profitability of the Group in the crisis.
The decline in the markets temporarily required short-time work at various places in the Zeppelin Group. At a very early stage, the company took advantage of the possibilities offered by flexible working time models and allowed remote working as a solution to tackle the pandemic and activity stoppages.
Despite the adverse circumstances, Zeppelin has developed its business segments and expanded its range of temporary energy and climate solutions by acquiring the operations of Energyst Rental Solutions. The acquisition of parts of MTI Mischtechnik strengthens the range of solutions for mixing and processing high-quality bulk materials in the special chemicals segment.
Outlook for the 2021 financial year
The development of the global economy will depend to a large extent on the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic and regulations on global trade disputes and sanctions. Geopolitical tensions and volatile oil prices are also affecting some of Zeppelin's key markets. Nevertheless, Zeppelin is cautiously optimistic about the future and expects the regional businesses relevant to the Group to be stable and will benefit from the expected growth in commodity markets. Expected market stabilization will be supported by increased public investment in Central Europe and the continuation of state infrastructure projects in Russia and Ukraine. New growth opportunities are opening up with the introduction of a new generation of mobile excavators and material handlers by the manufacturing partner, Caterpillar. Zeppelin is also expecting growth stimulus from the positioning of products and services in the area of emergency power generators for data centers in the northern and eastern European markets.
The growth strategy launched in Scandinavia will continue in 2021 with, among other things, the expansion of financing solutions for customers, and the opening of new sites. The year will also see the operational integration of the newly acquired Energyst Rental Solutions and the integration of major parts of MTI Mischtechnik.
In terms of digitalization, Zeppelin continues to invest in the establishment of a global data infrastructure as an essential foundation for the further development of digital business models and platforms in order to align services and offers with future requirements.
Caption: The Management Board of the Zeppelin Group (from left to right): Christian Dummler, Alexandra Mebus, Michael Heidemann, Peter Gerstmann (archive image). © Zeppelin GmbH