Letter from the Chief Corporate Management
Ladies and gentlemen,
It was clear early on that fiscal 2021 would be a challenging year. We had already highlighted the situation in last year’s Annual Report. In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, which continued to have an enormous impact on our private and professional lives, there was also considerable turmoil in numerous markets. In particular, there were sharp increases in energy, material, and transport costs, as well as a lack of availability for various (input) materials.
The fact that we can look back on a good fiscal year despite such challenges is a testament to the tremendous dedication, expertise, and professionalism of our employees. We achieved sales of € 1,882 million in 2021, corresponding to year-on-year growth of 8.6 percent. Adjusted for currency effects, the increase was as much as 11 percent.
It should be noted though that this growth is only partly attributable to increased sales volumes. A larger proportion resulted from price increases which we had to implement due to much higher costs in all our business fields. However, these price increases and strict cost management could only partially offset the increased charges for energy, materials, and transportation. As a result, there was a significant negative impact on earnings of the Melitta Group.
Nevertheless, we are very satisfied with fiscal 2021 on the whole. In our Coffee business field, we once again achieved record sales volumes and expanded our market shares: in Germany, we now hold 11.3 percent of the market (previous year: 9.5 percent). In the Coffee Preparation business field, our coffeemakers and fully automatic machines enjoyed great success. This is primarily due to our strategy of offering a growing proportion of premium appliances. There was also encouraging progress in the Household Products business field, where we made excellent progress with regard to the sustainability of our products – an aspect which is becoming increasingly important for consumers.
As in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic had a negative impact on our B2B business in the past fiscal year. Although the situation in the hospitality sector temporarily recovered, the environment remained difficult. The reluctance of commercial customers to invest in new equipment due to uncertainties and staff shortages is still clearly noticeable today. By contrast, the effects of the pandemic on our B2C business have largely subsided.
Despite the numerous challenges, we succeeded in focusing on and implementing our strategic agenda once again in the past fiscal year. With regard to our internationalization strategy, for example, this was reflected in the acquisition of the long-established Italian coffee roaster Caffè Corsini and the purchase of a majority stake in the online coffee platform roastmarket.de. At the same time, we established a roasting plant for specialty coffees in Bremen and thus expanded our product range once again. We also developed numerous activities to sharpen the profile of our brands – both in the B2C and B2B segments – and to further strengthen consumer trust in them. Our main aim here was to highlight the skills and traditions associated with our brands.
One of the strategic focal points of the past year was once again the sustainable alignment of our business activities. We continued to specify our sustainability targets and made good progress in implementing our future concepts in the value creation areas of Coffee and Coffee Cultivation, Plastics and Plastics Products, Pulp and Paper, and Electrical Appliances by 2030. Following detailed preparation, we launched several major sustainability projects in the past fiscal year, such as our Fair Recycled Plastics social business project in India. In addition, we published our first Group-wide Sustainability Report in 2021.
The past fiscal year was also characterized by a further strengthening of our corporate culture. As in previous years, we developed numerous activities to enhance our cohesion, the skills of our managers, and our employer brand. The investments we made in these areas have paid off in full. After all, 2021 once again demonstrated the importance of a strong corporate culture based on reliability, honesty, and trust. We are not only proud of our values-based cooperation and our commitment as a family-owned company, but also regard them as a key success factor for our Group.
It is already apparent that the fiscal year 2022 will be no less challenging than the previous year. In fact, we expect even greater market turmoil with more profound and long-term repercussions. In combination with price and interest rate hikes, as well as ongoing supply bottlenecks, the current geopolitical developments will heighten the political and social tensions, making the economic environment even more complex and precarious.
Nevertheless, we are convinced that the agility we have gained in recent years will help us overcome these challenges. Moreover, we have a high degree of confidence in the operational excellence of our organization. In recent years, our employees have clearly demonstrated their readiness to embrace change and their ability to swiftly adapt to new conditions. Likewise, our managers not only have the skills and experience, but also the necessary composure to make the right decisions in crisis situations – something that is particularly important in such uncertain times. We therefore believe we are well positioned for the coming years and are optimistic about our future prospects.
We would like to thank our employees and business partners for their commitment, loyalty, and reliability.