2021 was a successful year for the Böllhoff Group despite the difficult conditions.
In an economic environment caught between the upswing and strained supply chains, Böllhoff achieved sales of 671 million euros. This represents an increase of around 23% over the previous year, which had been impacted by the pandemic (2020: 545 million euros).
“We were able to take advantage of the renewed economic upswing in 2021 and grow back to pre-pandemic levels – this is a gratifying development after the severe downturn in 2020”, says Michael W. Böllhoff. “But the market environment remains challenging nevertheless”, adds Wilhelm A. Böllhoff. “The effects of two years of the COVID-19 pandemic – including supply bottlenecks, the rising costs of raw materials, energy prices and freight – will continue to concern us in the coming months. Added to this are geopolitical risks, such as Vladimir Putin's military actions against Ukraine.”
In 2021, Böllhoff was able to largely overcome the sales drop of 2020 in all regions of the world. Foreign markets continued to grow in importance. Especially in Asia, we recorded disproportionately high growth. Compared to 2019 and 2020, sales in Asia increased by 29% to around 78 million euros (2019/2020: 60 million euros each). In the German market, sales were essentially at pre-pandemic levels. This growth also resulted from the acquisition of two companies in 2020 - Verbindungselemente Engel GmbH in Weingarten and Kaiser Spezialartikel GmbH in Arnsberg.
When broken down by the customer groups of industry, automotive and aerospace, the Böllhoff Group grew particularly strongly in industry. With a sales share of 320 million euros, this diverse sector accounted for around 48% of total sales in 2021 (2020: 42%). “This is where we are seeing the fruits of our diversification strategy”, says Michael W. Böllhoff. “We are constantly working on optimising our joining solutions regarding new uses and on applying them in new industries.” The automotive share of total sales fell by 6% to 51%; the aerospace sector, accounting for 1.5% of sales, was at a similar level as before the pandemic.
Despite the difficult operating conditions since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Böllhoff remains committed to sustainable staff growth and its own training. The number of young trainees and students at the company remained consistently high at 111 in 2021. The number of employees across the group increased by around 200 to more than 3,200. “Our well-trained employees are the foundation of our company's success”, says Wilhelm A. Böllhoff. “That’s why, even in these times, we remain focussed on long-term thinking and continuity in our human resources policy in order to collaborate closely with our employees to leverage our growth potential.”
Faced with the high level of uncertainty and fluctuations in the Böllhoff Group’s market environment, it is currently not possible to make a reliable forecast for the rest of the year. Nevertheless, the year has started successfully for us in most customer segments. However, due to the unexpected escalation of the war in Ukraine and the unforeseeable consequences for supply chains, demand volatility remains high worldwide. In view of the sanctions against Russia, we are reassessing our exposure there on a daily basis.