The Division accounts for 47% of Oerlikon Group’s sales and delivered a strong performance in 2020 despite the pandemic. Year-over-year, order intake decreased slightly by 2.3% to CHF 1 097 million compared to CHF 1 122 million in 2019. Sales also decreased slightly by 4.0% to CHF 1 061 million, compared to CHF 1 106 million in 2019. At constant exchange rates, sales were CHF 1 110 million.
The Division delivered stable double-digit profitability. Operational EBITDA improved year-over-year to CHF 151 million, or 14.2% of sales, compared to CHF 145 million, or 13.2% of sales. Unadjusted EBITDA was CHF 150 million, or 14.1% of sales (2019: CHF 144 million, 13.0%). Operational EBIT for 2020 was CHF 120 million (2019: CHF 119 million) or 11.3% of sales (2018: 10.8%). Unadjusted EBIT was CHF 118 million (2019: CHF 117 million), or 11.2% of sales (10.6%).
At the beginning of the year, the filament equipment business were awarded contracts from three of the world’s leading manmade fibers manufacturers. The three projects have a total value of more than CHF 600 million.
The business proved to be highly resilient for the remaining of the year even after the outbreak of COVID-19. Sales and orders for manmade fibers systems were maintained at a high leven of over CHF 1 billion, driven by the rapid recovery of China’s economy.
The nonwoven business benefited from the unanticipated surge in demand for protective wear and masks. Given that a number of governments are redefining such protective items as critical medical supplies and the need to be self-sufficient, the demand for nonwoven solutions is expected to continue growing over the next quarters. To support this growth, Oerlikon ramped up production capacity for the meltblown technology and increased output by more than 10 times.
In 2020, the Division began the construction of a new stable fiber technology laboratory in Neumünster to further strengthen its focus on developing product lines for customers. The Division also invested in building an extension of its pump production hall in Remscheid, Germany, to manufacture and test hi-tech spinning, feed and metering pumps, thereby boosting its capacity to expand its foothold in this growth market.
The Division took a majority stake in the joint venture with its partner, Teknoweb, strengthening its position in the nonwoven disposable market. Thus Oerlikon benefits from Teknoweb’s sole worldwide license to offer P&G’s patented PHANTOM technology, which offers superior performances with cost advantage in much more eco-friendly products.