In financial year 2020/21, the uvex group registered especially strong sales growth of 9% year on year. The two subgroups, namely the uvex safety group and uvex sports group, contributed to the successful business development of the globally active uvex group. In financial year 2020/21, the uvex group generated total sales of EUR 524 million.
“Despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis and a highly dynamic economic environment, we managed to achieve record growth in the previous financial year,” comments Michael Winter, Managing Partner of the uvex group, before adding: “We attribute this growth above all to the trust of our customers and the commitment of our staff. Our strategy of consistently investing in our core competencies of innovation, digitisation and branding have secured the best sales figures in our company's history.”
In the 2020/21 financial year, the uvex safety group posted a 9% sales increase of EUR 399 million. With a share of 76% in consolidated group sales, the industrial health and safety subgroup remains the backbone of the family business. The highest growth rates, some of which were in the double-digit range, were recorded in product groups such as safety eyewear, respiratory protection and disposable safety gloves. The demand for protective footwear, hearing protection, safety gloves clothing and laser protection increased again in the previous financial year due to decreasing short-time working hours and the economic recovery.
The pleasing sales on the German market are particularly worth highlighting. These can be attributed to orders placed by public authorities for wide-vision goggles. Moreover, sales development around the world was strongly aligned with the course of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated lockdowns and restrictions, as well as the resultant impact on demand from industry, trade and authorities.
The sport and leisure segment, which suffered sales declines in the previous year owing to the coronavirus crisis, returned to the growth path in financial year 2020/21. This subgroup includes the familiar uvex and ALPINA brands, and together with the Filtral group, it generated total sales of EUR 142 million. This equates to an increase of 11%. With product innovations in the cycling division, uvex sports and ALPINA are continuing the success path on which they embarked during the previous year. In the equestrian sports division, uvex sports registered growth rates in the double digit range in the previous financial year. Sports eyewear also achieved positive results, registering strong growth thanks to online sales channels. Through this positive sales development in the cycling, equestrian sports and eyewear division, the family business was more than able to offset the weak sales of ski goggles and ski helmets in the winter sports division. The reason for this was the winter sports season being cancelled for 2020/21, which heavily impacted regions such as Austria and Japan, where winter sports form a key part of the economy. The subsidiary Filtral group also generated pleasing growth as a result of innovative and sustainable marketing concepts for its sunglasses and reading glasses collections.
With its protecting people philosophy, the uvex group has offered a comprehensive product portfolio for protecting people at work, in sport and during leisure pursuits across its 95-year history. The product innovations of this traditional company are developed at its own manufacturing plants, many of which are located in Germany and the rest of Europe. With this high level of manufacturing competence, the uvex group is able to quickly and flexibly react to market and customer requirements.
“We believe that the uvex group is well positioned for future growth. For example, our manufacturing plant in Obernzell in the district of Passau in Lower Bavaria worked at the limits of capacity in a three shift operation in order to meet the high demand for cycling helmets,” Michael Winter says. The same is true of the manufacturing plant at the Fürth site, where products rolling off the production line include safety eyewear, among other product groups. “The previous financial year has once again proven that the uvex safety group and the uvex sports group are the perfect team,” Michael Winter explains in discussing the uvex group’s highly diversified business model. The uvex group has also reaffirmed its commitment to basing its business in Germany, having announced the start of construction for a new logistics and service centre in Rednitzhembach to the south of Nuremberg in autumn 2021.
Another reason for the overall positive financial year 2020/21 is the consistent digitisation of all business segments, which had been started even before the coronavirus pandemic. Back in the spring of this year, the uvex group launched a brand shop (uvex-group.shop) to serve as an additional point of contact for online trade with customers alongside the existing B2B sales channels. The long-term aim of the Fürth-based family company is to develop into a sophisticated multi-channel provider with a solutions-orientated business model.
Michael Winter highlights another success factor for the uvex group: “In a dynamic environment that is dictated by developments in connection with the pandemic, a strong brand also provides clarity and security to both customers and staff.” In this sense, the uvex group has established itself as an independent employer brand that is constantly breaking new ground. The company's successful digital recruitment activities via social media were recognized after being presented with the German Brand Award 2021 in gold.
“After a thoroughly successful financial year, I am looking ahead to the future with cautious optimism,” comments Michael Winter. “The problems in global supply chains have tangible consequences for both the uvex group and our customers. We anticipate that the high-level demand for products such as FFP2 masks and wide-vision goggles seen over the course of the pandemic will fall back to pre-pandemic levels.” However, it is not yet clear how this year's winter sports season will progress. The uvex group boasts positive growth prospects for the current financial year after agreeing strategic partnerships across both sub-segments: for example, in the previous financial year, the uvex safety group acquired a majority share in the US corporation HexArmor in order to continue selling its extensive range of eye, hand and head protection on the US market under an established brand. In the sport and leisure segment, the recently acquired Hiplok brand with its locks and wall-mounts was added to the uvex sports group's brand portfolio in order to consolidate its competencies in the area of security in the future.