With zest and drive, our personnel ensured that SICK was able to complete the 2021 fiscal year with a new record for orders received and sales – despite the continuing difficult global economic conditions. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) achieved above-average growth compared to sales thanks to forward-looking cost management. Business in 2021 remained characterized by the economic conditions resulting from the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, worldwide delivery chain problems have made it difficult for industry to keep up with the rise in demand.
The Group’s asset, financial and earnings situation nevertheless developed very solidly. SICK was able to achieve continuous growth in sales due to its high technological competence and strong market position in important growth regions. The level of orders received developed with differing intensity in the various business fields but was distinctly positive overall. Following the pandemic-related fall in the previous year, SICK achieved a new record value in the German domestic market.
To strengthen its competitive position, the SICK Group drove forward its development activities and, as in past years, also made major investments in R&D activities during the 2021 fiscal year. SICK has a highly diverse product portfolio that meets the requirements of the most varied of sectors while also serving short- to long-term cyclical markets. It is therefore easier to compensate for heterogeneous developments within SICK’s target industries and achieve very good growth. Our new portfolio of solutions for data-based business models was already able to contribute towards commercial success last year. So – together with our customers – we are well positioned to exploit the future opportunities that digitalization offers for increasing efficiency and optimization along value-creation chains. We nevertheless face difficult challenges. The pandemic continues, and the problems in the delivery chain are worsening: We believe that the coming months will be the most difficult since the start of the supply crisis.
The Executive Board of SICK AG saw further changes in 2021. In September 2021, SICK AG said goodbye to its long-standing CEO, Dr. Robert Bauer, after 20 years. A change at the head of the Supervisory Board of SICK AG is planned for May 2022 when the successor to its departing Chairman of many years, Klaus M. Bukenberger, takes over. Dr. Mats Gökstorp, responsible for Products & Marketing, took over as Chairman of the Executive Board on 1 October 2021. At the same time, Dr. Niels Syassen was appointed to the Executive Board of SICK AG, taking over responsibility for the Technology & Digitalization portfolio from Dr. Bauer.
We are publishing our current Sustainability Report and our new Magazine alongside this Annual Report. When, at the start of the year, we decided on the title “Courage” for our Magazine we were unaware of how challenging the topic would become in connection with current geopolitical events. These force into the background the further expected shortage of components on the procurement markets and the continuing uncertainties regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Our thoughts are with all who have been affected by this conflict.