Investments to continue – a successful 2019 financial year for Thimm Group

Thimm Group has closed the 2019 financial year with revenues of €623m (2018: €645m). Operating result EBITDA at €46.7m increased by 20% to €56.1m. Investments of €34.0m have been made in product diversification, individual sites and production technologies to support the further growth of Thimm Group. Employee numbers as of 31.12.2019 increased from 3,262 in the previous year to 3,512, including 121 apprentices.

Due to reduced sales prices in the financial year under review, Thimm Group recorded a slight fall in revenue of about 3%. According to Mathias Schliep, Chairman of the Management Board, Thimm Group, “We grew our sales further over the last year. However, because we pass on lower prices for corrugated base paper to our customers, revenues have actually fallen slightly. Furthermore, due to developments in the automotive industry there has been a fall in revenue from industrial goods packaging.”

The equity ratio of Thimm Group at the end of the 2019 financial year was 41.0%, above the previous year’s value (37.5%) and therefore remained at a high level. In addition to the volume growth in the packaging plants in Poland and Romania, the corrugated plant completed in 2017 in Wolznach in Bavaria recorded considerable volume growth in 2019 and made a significant contribution to the increase in earnings. According to Schliep, “However, the cost situation in the entire sector remains challenging due to the sharp increases in personnel, logistics and energy costs in some regions.”

In the financial year under review, Thimm expanded its market presence with three additional sites. In the fourth quarter, the Thimm Packaging Systems business division took over the supplier of foam solutions and technical moulded parts, ISL Schaumstoff-Technik GmbH, based in Viernheim in South Hesse and the business operations of ISL Verpackungstechnik GmbH in Serba in Thuringia.

“The integration of ISL into the Thimm Group is an important step within the context of our international diversification strategy. We are not only expanding our portfolio of reusable multi-material packaging solutions and further consolidating our position as a supplier of sustainable packaging solutions, we have also gained two high-performance sites in Germany,” says Schliep.

In addition, on 01.10.2019, TOP Packaging, the Polish joint venture owned by Thimm Group, took over United Packaging SA in Skarbimierz, near Wroclaw. “The expansion of our presence in western Poland as a result of this acquisition is enabling us to provide an even better supply to our Polish and international customers and is consolidating the group-wide collaboration between our sites in Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany,” continues Schliep.

Thimm has also invested in the production plant in Sibiu in Romania. The core of the expansion was the installation of a new, state-of-the-art Fosber corrugator. The machine was commissioned in mid-April 2019 and triples the corrugated production capacity. The corporate-wide modernisation of the technical infrastructure has been another investment focus. Total investment volume for the expansion of existing sites and production technologies along with product diversification and expansion was €34.0m.

Schliep adds, “The spread of the Corona pandemic to Europe and Germany at the start of the year has considerably changed the commercial framework conditions on which our 2020 planning was based. Worldwide a significant economic downturn is expected for the second quarter of 2020. The impacts of the pandemic on Thimm Group have been varied. Currently we are recording an increasing demand for packaging for everyday consumer goods, whereas the demand for packaging for the automotive and industrial goods sectors has fallen considerably. Overall this crisis has illustrated the importance of packaging in maintaining the supply chain and for the provision of food, pharmaceutical and medical products. Packaging is an integral component in the security of supply for the population.”

Despite the spread of the Corona pandemic to Europe during the first quarter, Thimm Group had a good start to 2020. “We are still expecting to grow our revenue despite this extreme situation,” says Schliep. “However this is hugely contingent on the further course of Corona pandemic and its associated restrictions. At this moment in time our current order situation gives us cause for cautious optimism. As regards further developments, from today’s perspective the new sites added to the corporate group at the end of 2019 will make a significant contribution. In the Thimm pack’n’display business division, an increase in sales volumes is expected, to which all production sites – but in particular the plants in the growing markets in Eastern Europe – will contribute.”

Schliep concludes, “We are well-positioned with our innovative and sustainable packaging solutions which are in increasing demand, particularly from the food industry. Corrugated packaging is part of a product life cycle which makes both an important economic and ecological contribution to efficient supply chain logistics. In addition, the e-commerce sector is developing well to very well. Our 2020 focus for the Thimm Packaging Systems business division is the integration of the newly taken over sites and we will be further expanding digital printing in the Christiansen Print business division. Despite the Corona crisis we will continue our investments during 2020 in the further development of our company and invest in the future of each individual production site in order to modernise our sites and further expand our capacities.”

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