Oechsler Group’s FY 2021 “satisfactory” despite sales dip, plans huge investment in additive manufacturing

The Oechsler Group has reported a 2.4% decline in group sales in its FY 2021 financial results, citing the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising raw material prices.

Throughout FY 2021, group sales dipped slightly to €369 million from the €378 million the firm generated in FY 2020. However, Oechsler maintained it was “satisfied” with its performance during the period, having observed growth in its Automotive and Innovative Solutions divisions alongside progress in expanding additive manufacturing as a second production technology.

As a result, Oechsler is planning to “massively” invest in expanding its additive manufacturing division, having set aside some €55 million to increase the production capacities of its Ansbach-Brodswinden and Taicang locations.

“In view of the numerous global crises, we are satisfied with the course of our 2021 financial year,” said Dr Claudius Kozlik, CEO of Oechsler. “Due to our diversified customer portfolio and our broad geographical presence in Europe, Asia, and the North American free trade area USMCA, our sales have remained stable in 2021.

“As early as 2022, we expect an overall increase in group sales and see significant growth opportunities in the medium term – not least due to promising new projects in 3D printing.”

Oechsler’s Ansbach-Brodswinden facility. Photo via Oechsler.

Oechsler’s FY 2021 financial results

Oechsler reports its financial results across its three divisions: Automotive, Sporting Goods, and Innovative Solutions. By far and away, the firm’s largest segment, Automotive, was the best performing over the course of FY 2021, seeing a sales increase of 10% to €257 million during the year.

Oechsler attributed the main reason for the sales growth to a major order from a leading automotive supplier in the first half of the year for the series production of components via metal injection molding (MIM). The segment experienced a slump in the second half of FY 2021, though, due to reduced demand and the shortage of semiconductors and other raw materials faced by the automotive industry.

The firm’s Innovative Solutions division also experienced growth throughout FY 2021, with sales up 14% to €41 million bolstered largely by increased demand for solar system components. The company’s Sporting Goods division, however, did not fare so well during the period, with sales falling 35% year-on-year to €71 million. According to Oechsler, this decline was, among other things, due to the Covid-19 related lockdown in SouthEast Asia in Q3 2021, which meant the firm had to close its Vietnam plant for two months.

Despite entering into “new and successful” 3D printing-related product partnerships with the likes of bicycle manufacturer Specialized and leading outdoor specialist Jack Wolfskin, Oechsler was unable to recoup the losses caused by the plant closure.

Group Sales (€) FY 2020 FY 2021 Difference (%)
Automotive 234m 257m +10
Innovative Solutions 36m 41m +14
Sporting Goods 109m 71m -35
Total 378m 369m -2.4

Bolstering investment in AM

Oechsler’s customers include leading industrial firms, automotive suppliers and key players in the sporting goods industry, and has steadily increased its use of 3D printing for projects requiring lighter components, flexible designs, and other sophisticated functions enabled by the technology.

As such, the importance of additive manufacturing within the company has risen to new heights in recent years, with the technology now contributing to more than 10% of the group’s turnover. Alongside its FY 2021 financial results, Oechsler announced plans to invest some €55 million to further expand its additive manufacturing production capabilities over the course of 2022.

The company has already invested €20 million in Q1 2022 through a partnership with 3D printer OEM HP and automated post-processing systems manufacturer Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) to bring powder-based 3D printing processes into series production at its Ansbach-Brodswinden site.

With the rest of the funds, Oechsler will continue to expand the site and its Taicang location in China over the course of 2022 to bolster its 3D printing production capacity.

Oechsler has installed a fleet of industrial grade HP Jet Fusion 5200 3D printers (pictured) at its factory in Ansbach, Germany. Photo via HP.

Return to growth in 2022

Despite the challenging market conditions of FY 2021, Oeschler is anticipating “significant growth opportunities” ahead and expects group sales to once again increase in 2022. Looking further into the future, the group predicts double-digit growth rates as early as 2023 due to the growing importance of market segments like autonomous driving and the acquisition of new projects.

The group also expects its investment in its additive manufacturing production capabilities to contribute to future sales growth, while also spying future growth opportunities in the healthcare market.

Despite the firm’s positive outlook for 2022, tough market conditions throughout 2021 meant the firm had to “moderately” reduce its global workforce, particularly those in development, sales, and purchasing roles.

“Oechsler is currently facing major challenges in its global markets,” said Michael Meyer, CFO at Oechsler. “Raw material and energy costs have exploded in recent years as part of the Ukraine war and the corona pandemic. At the same time, global automobile production has dropped significantly since 2019 and is undergoing technological change.

“In view of these demanding framework conditions, it is important to constantly optimize our own cost base while at the same time living up to our social and corporate responsibility.”

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Featured image shows Oechsler’s Ansbach-Brodswinden facility. Photo via Oechsler.

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