In a year that was a difficult one for many companies, film machinery maker Brückner Maschinenbau GmbH saw its business thrive.
In terms of incoming orders, the past fiscal year was the second most successful in the company's history, the Siegsdorf, Germany-based company reported.
Brückner Maschinenbau closed the year with an order intake of almost 800 million euros ($966.7 million), a significant increase over the 500 million euros ($604 million) recorded for the previous year. The company is projecting sales in excess of 550 million euros ($664 million) for the year 2021, vs. the 400 million euros ($483 million) achieved in 2020.
The results owe much to the heightened focus on hygiene and food safety in the packaging sector worldwide, particularly in Asia, according to the company.
In addition, the growth in food retailing and online shopping increased demand for packaging, and by extension, for Brückner film stretching lines.
The good news doesn't stop there, Chief Financial Officer Stefan Neumann said.
"Our order backlog extends well into 2023. In addition, we are currently pleased about two major orders from China," he said.
The company has signed multiple five-year contracts with long-standing customer Jiangsu Hengli New Materials, a leading Chinese polyester film producer, representing an order volume that significantly exceeds the average annual volume of Brückner Maschinenbau. The complete package comprises dozens of biaxially oriented PET lines for packaging films, optical and industrial films as well as ultra-thin specialty films and special BOPET thick film lines. The framework agreement covers a total of 15 different line types, including a very special laboratory line.
The second order was placed by Shenzhen Senior Technology Material Co. Ltd., a maker of battery separator films, and was for another eight special Brückner lines.
The latter fits with the trends in the film market, the company said. While packaging continues to be boom, demand for technical films and film production lines are also on the rise. Potential future applications, next to battery separator films, include films for medical and high-temperature applications, solar panels or organic and printed electronics.
To ensure that the lines sold are also installed and commissioned on schedule all over the world, Brückner coordinates all trips as part of a special COVID-19 crisis management system.
"Traveling in these times demands a lot from our employees. We are therefore more than grateful that the willingness of our colleagues to travel abroad remains high. This is extremely appreciated by our customers," said Helmut Huber, chief operating officer, sales and project management.
Next to the impressive growth in order intake for new lines, the company also saw a 60 percent increase in order intake for line upgrades by its service provider for film stretching technology, Brückner Servtec, also based in Siegsdorf. Among the more notable developments was the order placed by one major global customer, seeking to move towards a more sustainable production process, for a total of four production lines on three continents in the packaging film sector.
The impact on the company's financial results for 2021 will be considerable: Brückner Servtec is forecasting record sales of around 71 million euros ($84.8 million) for 2021, up from 53 million euros ($64 million) in 2020.