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Despite difficult pandemic-related circumstances, the Zeiser Division was able to meet expectations for net sales and even exceed them for the operating result in the 2020 business year. Net sales in 2020 amounted to CHF 24.8 million (previous year CHF 29.2 million) and the operating result (EBIT) was CHF 5.3 million, about 18% below the previous year’s result (previous year CHF 6.4 million). Business was stabilised at a high level in the areas of banknote numbering and passport individualisation. The operating EBIT (adjusted for special effects of CHF 0.2 million) was CHF 5.1 million, which corresponds to a margin of 20.6% (previous year 16.5%).
Zeiser continued to focus on the security printing business and strengthened and expanded its leading market position. Thanks to this, an above-average number of orders were acquired in 2020 for retrofits of numbering technologies for banknotes and for new investments in machinery for the production of passports. The reluctance of state organisations to make new investments resulted in increased demand in the spare parts business. On the other hand, travel and contact restrictions led to a digitalisation push in sales processes. Instead of product demonstrations at trade fairs or at the locations, virtual meetings, live demonstrations and participation in online events came to the fore.
An expansion of the product portfolio is targeted for 2021. Corresponding opportunities within the existing business have been identified and are currently being examined. Synergies could be realised with these and a market launch could be facilitated using the existing sales and distribution network. The topic of digitalisation in the area of security printing will be pushed further. To exploit the potential, the R&D department was expanded and successfully strengthened with additional key positions.
Another focus in the current year is the completion of further developments of important key technologies that are already in the portfolio. The market launch of successor products is scheduled in the second half of the year. Due to the expiring lease for the production location and in order to improve operational efficiency and logistics, the Board of Directors has decided to unite Zeiser’s two operating facilities in Emmingen/D in a new building. The foundation stone for the new building was laid in the fourth quarter of 2020, and completion is scheduled for autumn 2021 so that the production area can move into the new building before the end of 2021. The second location (administration, sales, logistics and R&D) will follow afterwards. We plan that the merger of the two locations will be completed in the first quarter of 2022.
Due to postponed investments at government security printers, stable sales potential in the banknote numbering segment is expected for 2021. A significant sales increase in the ink-jet numbering segment is expected however. The new inkjet printer from Zeiser introduced last year will sustainably strengthen the strategic core area “individualisation of security documents”. On the one hand, it can be sold for new investments in the area of tax band coding, but will also be promoted as a replacement for existing inkjet installations in the established customer base.