Bekaert bullish over 2021 after 2020 sales fall

Belgian wire specialist Bekaert’s outlook for 2021 demand and performance in its key markets is bullish. The company aims to reach at least €4 billion ($4.7 billion) in consolidated sales, up from €3.8 billion in 2020, it says in an earnings statement obtained by Kallanish.

Bekaert has noticed a strong rebound in several markets in recent months. However, global economic uncertainty remains high, it warns. “The strong performance we delivered in the difficult year of 2020 and our determination to stimulate value creation by further enhancing our business portfolio and seizing value growth in robust markets have made us more confident about the future potential of Bekaert. We are therefore raising our ambitions for the coming years,” the firm says.

Bekaert’s sales of €3.8 billion in 2020 were lower than 2019 by 12.7% due to the heavy impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020. Ebitda stood at €479 million, an increase of 2% y-o-y.

Bekaert’s Steel Wire Solutions division was strongly affected by Covid-19 in the second quarter of 2020, but sales rebounded in the last quarter with a 10% growth compared to Q4 2019. This was driven by increased sales in EMEA, China and Latin America. The business unit reported a sales decrease of 7.9% on-year in 2020.

The Specialty Businesses unit reported a sales decrease of 5.9% in 2020 due to a volume fall of 8.7% and adverse currency effects.

Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group (BBRG) also recorded a sales decline of 13% compared to last year, driven by lower volumes. BBRG’s advanced cords business, A-Cords, saw decreased sales in automotive markets but solid demand from elevator and timing belt markets.

Bekaert’s board of directors has permanently appointed Oswald Schmid as chief executive officer. Schmid has been leading the Bekaert group as interim ceo since 13 May 2020.

Natalia Capra France