Despite a difficult year, the Mex (VD) based Bobst group managed to remain profitable. The company specializing in packaging machines announced on Friday in a press release a net profit of 17 million francs for the past year against 53 million in 2019.
Last year the group’s operating profit exceeded its own expectations and those of analysts, amounting to 81 million francs. It is almost halved to 43 million in 2020. Bobst points out in particular the negative impact of exchange rates, -63 million francs on a turnover down 16.2%. The latter went from 1.636 billion in 2019 to 1.372 billion.
Orders up in the second half of the year
During the first part of the year, the group recorded a sharp drop in orders, which fell by 21% in June compared to the same period last year. This fall was partly offset by a sharp increase in the second half of the year, particularly in the United States where Bobst ended the year with a larger order book than at the end of 2019. However, the group underlines that they are generally down by 4% compared to 2019.
This change is reflected in turnover, which amounted to 524 million francs in the first half of 2020, compared to 848 million in the second half of the year. This is not that far from the previous year when Bobst recorded sales of 899 million francs in the second half of the year.
Despite this situation, Bobst went from a net debt of 59 million francs in 2019, to a cash surplus of 4 million in 2020.
A similar year 2021
Faced with this situation, the Board of Directors recommended not to pay a dividend in 2021. Last year it stood at 1.50 francs per share. The General Meeting of Shareholders is to be held on March 30th. At the time of writing, the stock was down 4.31% and traded around 63 francs.
For the coming year, Bobst expects sales and operating profit to be equivalent or slightly higher than those recorded in 2020.