In the first half of 2021, the business of GF
— an international industrial corporation with its headquarters in Schaffhausen, Switzerland — continued to recover following the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As most of the company’s key markets started to grow again, it recorded strong sales at nearly the same level as those achieved prior to the pandemic, as well as showing markedly increased profitability across all of its three divisions.
However, GF said the macro economic environment in which it operates as a global company remains challenging, with continued difficulties and pressure on supply chains caused by raw material scarcity and increasing prices, ongoing trade disputes and globalisation-related tensions; and while these hurdles have hindered a full recovery, other positive market and technology trends have supported GF’s performance in the first half of the year.
These include adopting and encouraging hybrid models of work and continuing to invest in digitalised products and processes. Virtual events and meetings have become the new normal; and via these, the company has managed to maintain proximity to its customers and suppliers.
On a corporate basis, order intake rose 42.2% to CHF 2,048 million from CHF 1,440 million in the first half 2020. Sales amounted to CHF 1,835 million, a 20.1% increase compared with the first half of 2020, supported by strong global markets. Organic growth also stood at 20.0%. All three divisions contributed to this sales increase.
GF Piping Systems experienced a successful first half year, with high utilisation at almost all of its plants. The strong recovery was mainly due to its presence in growth markets and segments, such as micro-electronics, water and gas infrastructure, as well as cooling for data centres and wastewater treatment. All regions, spearheaded by China, contributed to sales of CHF 983 million — a 16.3% increase compared with the first half of 2020. Organically, sales rose 16.4%, while acquisitions added another CHF 11 million of sales.
GF Casting Solutions recorded sales of CHF 459 million, a 39.9% increase attributed to the strong market rebound in the automotive sector in the first six months of 2021. Organically, sales rose 38.3%, although the division’s performance was affected by rising costs of raw materials and subdued demand in the USA.
That said, with China and Europe registering record demand for e-vehicles, this division saw a 69% increase in sales for e-mobility components compared to the first half of 2020.
After the impact of the 2020 downturn, which saw demand for machine tools reduce dramatically, the situation changed and order intake at GF Machining Solutions ‘reached very promising levels’ in the first six months of 2021.
Segments such as MedTech, ICT (information and communications technology) and high-precision solutions for e-mobility applications enjoyed strong demand, while projects in the aerospace industry show signs of a slow but steady recovery. GF Machining Solutions reported sales of CHF 393 million in the first half of this year, compared with CHF 355 million in the first half of 2020.