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WTD Leaderboard August 1 2022
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Häfele Group revenue declines 7.3 per cent in 2020

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In a pandemic-ridden 2020, Häfele Group, a specialist for hardware technology, electronic access control systems and LED lighting, recorded a revenue decline of 7.3 per cent (-4.6% when adjusted for currency effects), down to 1.39 billion Euros.
With signs of a significant recovery commencing in the third quarter, the effects of the global crisis were kept within manageable limits according to company management.
During October to December 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, the Black Forest-based family business benefited from its international diversification. Having a presence in 150 countries again 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 per cent, whereas the rest of Western Europe reported a decline of 9.3 per cent. The United Kingdom, Italy and Spain suffered the largest drops in revenue in this region. Even greater declines of 20 per cent 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 shutdown 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 this situation, the Häfele Group adopted measures to secure the supply chain beginning in February 2020 – 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 working processes in all parts of the business were adapted to the risks of the pandemic very quickly and with a tremendous effort from the workforce.

Outlook
“As all of us have found out, the pandemic has taken its own unpredictable, uncontrollable dynamic course,” says managing director, Sibylle Thierer.
“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 pandemic on Häfele’s business for the entire year, was greatly mitigated.”
“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 will present themselves,” Thierer says.​​​​​​​

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