Digitalisation helps Klöckner switch to coronavirus-induced remote working

As the coronavirus outbreak required implementation of quarantine measures In Germany, distribution group Klöckner & Co has been able to transfer its office jobs to remote working.

The “… immediate switch to home office and the ability to collaborate digitally,” is a result of the company’s efforts to step up digitalisation in recent years. It could keep almost all sites in Europe active. Ceo Gisbert Rühl believes therefore that the particular crisis situation “… has created a leading edge [… for the company] over competition.”

Klöckner has been affected by the shutdown, and saw sales drop by some -30% in April, Rühl said during a conference call attended by Kallanish. In the first quarter of the year, business had not yet been affected by Covid-19, but was nevertheless suffering from the overall economic slowdown.

Revenues in Q1 decreased by -15% to €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) due to lower volumes and prices, on shipments that fell -9% to 1.365 million tonnes. Operating income (Ebitda), at €21 million, was within the guidance range of €20-30m but significantly below the prior-year figure of €34m. Net income was likewise lower, with a loss of €21m compared to a loss of €10m in the prior-year period.

For the second quarter Klöckner expects a further considerable decline in shipments and sales with the coronavirus epidemic dominating the picture. The company believes however that it is well positioned to face the pandemic and that the measures taken will enable it to emerge stronger from the crisis.