2021 was another year of major global challenges. The worldwide semiconductor shortage particularly dampened market development in the automotive sector. Despite the difficult environment, the automotive supplier Autoneum Management AG, Winterthur/Switzerland, was able to increase profitability and earnings. All 4 Business Groups (Europe, North America, Asia, SAMEA) contributed to the significant improvement of the group’s EBIT, which more than doubled to CHF 57.5 million (2020: CHF 27.8 million), corresponding to an EBIT margin of 3.4%. Although revenue in 3 of 4 regions developed better than the market, the company was below global market development. On the one hand, this is because some vehicle models of US manufacturers predominantly supplied by Autoneum were disproportionately affected by the semiconductor shortage. On the other hand, Business Group (BG) Asia, which outperformed the market, accounted for a smaller share of Autoneum's total revenue. The consolidated revenue fell by 2.3% compared to the previous year to CHF 1.70 billion (2020: CHF 1.74 billion).
Although volumes were just about as high as in 2020, production output was considerably more challenging in 2021. Production at vehicle manufacturers was stop and go and characterized by frequent interruptions. This led to planning uncertainty and required a continuous readjustment of resources (staff, raw materials) in line with customer call-off behavior, which changed at short notice.
Furthermore, increasing inflation around the world not only had a negative impact on raw material prices, but also increased energy and transport costs.
In 2021 Autoneum celebrated its 10th anniversary as an independent, stock-listed company and looked back with pride on a wide range of successes during its first decade. Over the course of these 10 years, the global network has been expanded as well as the standardization of its business and production processes around the world. The entire company was gradually focused on more sustainable processes and products. For example, the felt-based Flexi-Loft technology is characterized by very good acoustic performance and geometric flexibility, and also by a good environmental balance: Flexi-Loft is comprised of at least 50% recycled cotton fibers, and thanks to a unique combination of fibers it has a grammage that is up to 3 times lighter than traditional felt. This reduces the weight of the components for the vehicle interior and thus the total vehicle significantly, which contributes to lower CO2 emissions and a higher driving range.
Advancing electrification and sustainability are the dominant trends in the automobile industry. Autoneum has launched additional projects to further reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, energy, and water in its own production processes and boost the share of recycled and recyclable materials in its products. In addition, the use of artificial intelligence and simulation software in the development of acoustic driving comfort is becoming more important for the electric vehicle of the future.
According to market forecasts1)
, global automotive production will increase by around 9% year-on-year in 2022. The semiconductor shortage is likely to continue for some time into 2023; however, the situation might increasingly stabilize over the course of the financial year 2022 with higher volatility in the first half of the year. 1)
Source: IHS Light Vehicle Production Forecast of February 16, 2022