Hoechst, Austria | juli 2020
Blum achieves steady performance despite COVID-19
The fittings manufacturer posts 1,906.92 million euros in turnover at year-end
Thanks to a good start to the 2019/2020 business year, fittings manufacturer Blum from Vorarlberg, Austria records 1,906.92 million euros in group turnover at year-end. This is broadly the same as the previous year’s level and amounts to an increase of 14.9 million or +0.8%. The family-owned business benefits from its commitment to internationalism and remains a trusted partner to its customers despite the difficult global economic conditions.
Manufacturer of fittings, Blum has posted 1,906.92 million euros in turnover for the 2019/2020 financial year ended 30 June 2020. This is a slight increase of 14.9 million euros or +0.8% over the previous year. Although the business year got off to a good start, the coronavirus wreaked havoc on international markets from April and also led to substantial decreases in turnover for Blum. However, the fittings manufacturer was able to provide reliable services to its customers in more than 120 countries throughout the crisis. Blum has continued to grow and develop its international operations and now has 32 subsidiaries and representative offices worldwide. Blum achieves 97% of its turnover from exports. 44% is generated in the EU area and 15% in the USA.
More employees and apprentices
Blum employed 8,349 people worldwide on 30 June 2020, 6,180 of whom were in Vorarlberg. This is an increase of 262 in comparison to the previous year. 94 new trainees will start their apprenticeships in Vorarlberg in September. 23 of them young women. This means that from autumn 2020, 378 young people will be serving an apprenticeship with Blum Austria, which has a 50-year tradition of training youngsters to become highly skilled professionals. 24 apprentices are currently receiving vocational training in specialist areas at Blum USA; and Blum Poland has taken on four apprentices for the first time.
Different situations in different markets
In Western Europe, markets like Italy, France, England and Spain were in lockdown for several weeks. This led to a downturn in turnover for Blum in the region. As far as Eastern Europe is concerned, the company was able to achieve growth despite major economic restrictions. According to Managing Director Philipp Blum: “The European Union continues to be important to the stability of our company. The fact that the borders were kept open for freight traffic at all times allowed us to deliver products to our customers all over the world throughout the crisis.” In North America, results remained broadly at the same level as the previous year, however, South America showed a marked decrease over the previous year. In the Asia Pacific region, the fittings manufacturer was again able to record an increase in turnover in the last business year thanks to ongoing positive developments in China.
Product innovations for living areas throughout the home
Like many other companies, Blum also had to do without important local trade shows during the corona crisis. Lack of contact with customers presented the company with unfamiliar challenges and made it very difficult to market new products and services. “So it is all the more pleasing that the first customers are already implementing our new MERIVOBOX box system in their kitchens and other furniture. Our plan is to deliver pocket systems, our solution for closing off living areas and concealing large furniture fronts, to customers next year,” says Philipp Blum. Next year’s interzum will again be a firm fixture in the company’s calendar and an important platform for discussing product innovations with customers and partners from the furniture industry.
Investments and production plants
Investments of the Blum Group totalled 327 million euros in the 2019/2020 business year. The extension to Plant 4 in Bregenz, Vorarlberg is going according to plan. The project, which consists of a new production bay with 49,000 sq. metres (527,400 sq. ft.) of floor space and a high bay warehouse, should be completed by the summer of 2021. In line with Blum’s environmental policy, the development scheme will be a multi-storey construction to minimise the use of land and soil. Furthermore, the fittings manufacturer purchased the premises of Wolford in the immediate vicinity of Plant 4. There is a long-term agreement to lease the buildings to Wolford, however Blum will also be able to use unused areas in the near future. “Our investments in the region testify to our commitment to maintaining our main production site in Vorarlberg, Austria,” says Managing Director Martin Blum. Important investments are also being made on an international scale. Construction work has started on a new production plant including an automated high bay warehouse in China and should be completed by the end of 2022. The expansion to the warehouse and production area in the USA will be completed by the end of the year, and Blum’s subsidiary in Canada will move into new premises, consisting of a warehouse, office and showroom, in late fall 2020.
Looking ahead to the 2020/2021 business year
The outlook for the coming months is characterised by ongoing uncertainty. The consequences of the health crisis and its impact on the global economy will be felt for some time to come. Blum believes that it is important for the European Union to find a joint way forward to meet the upcoming challenges. According to Philipp Blum: “This community is of utmost importance to an international company like ours.” The long-established company will continue to focus on developing markets, building close relations with customers and driving ongoing innovation in the field of products and services. Its strategy has always been to safeguard the business in the long term for the benefit of all its employees. “The past few months have been very challenging for us as a company. We have gained many new insights which we would like to use in the future. Thanks go to our team for their commitment, dedication and cohesion,” underlines Philipp Blum.
Julius Blum GmbH
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