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by Stephan Bauer, Euro am Sonntag
EIt is peculiar when a crisis of all things brings recovery. That is exactly the case with the medical and safety technology manufacturer Drgerwerk. High quality respiratory protection is in high demand because of Corona. Lbeckers are therefore expanding their capacities for the production of breathing masks of the FFP2 and FFP3 quality levels – the abbreviation stands for “Filtering Face Piece”. The existing location for FFP products in Sweden is being expanded, and more than twice as many masks are to be produced there in the future. In addition, a new production facility is to be built in Alsace, which is to supply all of Europe.
“We assume that the demand for light respiratory protection will be higher in the long term,” says Rainer Klug, the board member responsible for safety technology. In terms of investments, there is talk of a low double-digit million euro amount. There was “very close and constructive cooperation” with the French authorities, which made the decision in favor of the site in Alsace easier.
Drgerwerk also benefits from the increased demands on health systems in medical technology, the second largest area. Not least thanks to a major order from Berlin, order intake skyrocketed by almost 120 percent in the first quarter. The federal government ordered 10,000 clinical ventilators that can be used in intensive care medicine. According to Drgerwerk, it is booked out for about a year. Production is expected to quadruple this year.
Special economic activity helps
The tail wind is coming. The past few years have not been easy for the family company. In 2016, the “Fit for growth” savings program was launched following losses. In addition to plant closings in the USA, there were also painful cuts at the headquarters in Lbeck. However, profits rose only briefly, the share price moved more south than north.
Last summer, boss Stefan Drger launched the next offensive to reduce costs by securing liquidity. 120 million euros are to be saved by 2023. There should not be any redundancies due to operational reasons, but employees waive wage increases. The operating profit margin remains modest for the time being. In 2019 it was 2.4 percent, in 2020 the key figure is expected to be in a corridor between one and four percent.
In retrospect, the moderate approach to personnel policy turned out to be a stroke of luck. So there is enough manpower to handle the flood of orders triggered by Corona.
The company’s forecasts remain cautious. Drger expects sales growth of one to four percent for the current year. Analysts expect earnings to decline slightly. But the Lbeckers may be able to surprise them here.
Thrust: The share reached a high in the Corona crisis. In the meantime, the euphoria has subsided somewhat. The brave get in.
More news about Drgerwerk AG & Co. KGaA Vz.
Image sources: Drgerwerk