Greiner sales fell to 2.1 billion: “We are rolling up our sleeves”

Greiner sales fell to 2.1 billion: “We are rolling up our sleeves”
The board of Greiner AG (from left to right): CFO Hannes Moser, CEO Saori Dubourg and operational director Manfred Stanek

Greiner’s sales fell from 2.3 to 2.1 billion euros in the previous year. All three divisions (Packaging, Neveon and Bio-One) fell short of expectations. But they are not dissatisfied, the decline is due to the challenging economic environment with weak economic activity, high inflation and increased costs, said Saori Dubourg. She has been CEO of the family business since March 1st. Dubourg comes from Germany and worked for the chemical company BASF for 26 years.

Dubourg distributed her board colleagues Hannes Moser and Manfred Stanek as well as the division heads Rosen. “We work excellently as a team. We are ambitious and roll up our sleeves.” The aim is to improve profitability, grow and create value. In general, she was warmly welcomed in Upper Austria. “Our goal is to continue the transformation into a circular, sustainable global player.” Until 2030 Greiner wants to be a circular company: resources should then be managed completely in a cycle.

Consumers save

In the packaging division, sales fell by seven percent to 845 million euros in 2023. “It’s not nice, but it’s significantly better than the trend in Europe,” said Moser. The declines were sharper across the industry. Although Greiner achieved moderate volume growth, consumers are increasingly turning to cheaper own brands and less to premium products with appropriate packaging.

The Neveon foam division suffered a decline of 12.5 percent to 641 million euros in sales. This is because a lot of mattresses and upholstered furniture were bought during the Corona period, but less now, and because money is less loose due to general inflation. There was a slump in boiler insulation in Germany due to the unclear funding policy. Things went better in business with the aircraft industry and are back to pre-Corona levels.

Sales in the Bio-One medical device division fell by 8.1 percent to 637 million euros. The hospitals and laboratories were full and savings were also being made in research. A slight recovery can now be seen.

“As difficult as the past year was, it showed that size and diversity as a group of companies make us more resilient and provide security,” said Stanek. Dubourg emphasized Greiner’s innovative strength and quality. This year, Moser expects a sales increase in the “low single-digit percentage range”.

Around 1,000 fewer employees

Greiner does not disclose any results. However, the cash flow fell by 38.7 percent to 119 million euros in the previous year. The number of employees in the group fell by 9.3 percent to 10,544 – but not in Austria, where there was an increase of 55 to 2,050 employees. “There are currently 190 positions vacant across the group, 60 of them in Austria,” said Moser.

The job cuts took place firstly through the sale of the Perfoam automotive business to the French Treves Group (around 600) and secondly through reductions including operational layoffs in Germany and other countries due to weak demand.

Greiner invested 138 million euros last year, 18.2 percent less than in 2022. 80.1 percent of this went into projects in Europe. “We are committed to Europe as a location,” emphasized the entire board – even if the commitment to North America is to be increased in the next few years and the share of sales in Europe has fallen from around 81 to 76 percent in the last three years.

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