Strong catch-up effects – negatively impacted by supply chain bottlenecks in the second half of the year
The Engineered Components (EC) segment, which is geared toward industrial applications, benefited substantially in 2021 from the recovery that began in the wake of the COVID-related slump of the 2020 financial year. This recovery – like the slump in 2020 – followed different patterns depending on the end market. In the automotive industry, recovery had already begun in the third quarter of 2020 and persisted into the first half of 2021. Bottlenecks in the semiconductor supply chain started putting pressure on OEMs’ production quantities in the summer months, which then also impacted call-offs at SFS. While the trend in the various industrial niche markets served by the Industrial division exhibited a similar yet delayed pattern, supply chain problems impacted this division to a much lesser degree. The Aircraft business lingered at a low level but started showing initial signs of a recovery toward the end of the year. The Electronics division, which had to measure up against a strong baseline due to the extremely good results it generated in the previous year, profited from a persistently positive market environment that was also hit by semiconductor scarcity in the second half. The repercussions here were, however, less pronounced than in the automotive industry. While demand in the Medical division followed an upward trend, the trend varied greatly depending on the area of application. Pandemic-related postponements of non-essential operations curbed demand, especially in the orthopedic end market.
Overall, the segment generated sales of CHF 975.2 million. Whereas year-on-year growth in the first half amounted to 28.6%, this figure dropped to 8.6% for the year as a whole. In addition to the supply chain bottlenecks mentioned above, the strong baseline effect is another factor that contributed to the declining growth rate. Sales growth was almost exclusively organic in nature; the impact of foreign currency and consolidation effects were minor with –0.5% and +1.2%. Sales generated during the period under review slightly exceeded those of 2019 (pre-pandemic).