Austrian machinery maker Engel Austria GmbH painted an optimistic picture for the current fiscal year at its June 21 news conference organized by the company ahead of its e-symposium 2021 event.
Engel reported 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in sales revenues for the 2020-21 fiscal year, down 15 percent compared with the previous year, but with an expected growth of 20 percent for the current fiscal year, the company is well satisfied, said Chief Sales Officer Christoph Steger.
"We have an order backlog not seen since 2018," he added. "We still employ 6,400 people at our locations and the demand for plastics remains strong and robust."
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, combined with an automotive industry that had already been subdued for the past two years, the outlook seemed bleak. In November, however, something changed, Steger said. Demand from the automotive industry picked up, due to the introduction of new drive technologies and solutions, making sustainable mobility the key for transformation in this industry.
Regardless of which alternative drive technology will prevail in the long term, the proportion of plastics in automobiles will continue to rise. Lightweighting remains a key prerequisite for sustainable mobility and requires innovative injection molding solutions.
"Carmakers needed time to adapt," CEO Stefan Engleder pointed out. "Now everyone is launching new models, and all the OEMs are boosting their product lines."
Sales in the packaging, electronics technical molding and medical divisions were also on the rise, with 5G as a driver for the electronics business line. For packaging, sustainability is driving business, Steger said.
Sustainability, he emphasized, is far more than a hype. "It is part of our identity," he said.
The regional distribution of sales at the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year clearly reflected the impact of the crisis. Europe contributed 45 percent of group sales, well below the previous year's share of 54 percent. The Americas accounted for 30 percent, compared with 25 percent the year before, and Asia for 23 percent, up from 20 percent the year before.
"The Americas and Asia — and China in particular — were the first to see the economy pick up again, and strongly," Steger said. "But meanwhile, Europe is also clearly back on track."