05. April 2021, 19:02 Uhr | Inka Krischke
Like the overall market Kuka felt the massive impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Although there were slight signs of recovery in the third quarter of 2020, these could not compensate for the slumps in the first half of the year and the fourth quarter.
In 2020, the Group's order intake fell by 12.5% to 2.8 billion euros compared to 2019, while sales decreased by 19.4% to 2.6 billion euros. "Thanks to the rapid implementation of comprehensive safety measures and sophisticated logistics planning, we were able to serve our customers around the globe without any major interruptions. Nevertheless, Corona has affected us globally in all areas, from manufacturing to customer service and supply chains to everyday work. Through strict measures, we nevertheless emerge from this fiscal year net debt-free and with a stable financial position," said Peter Mohnen, CEO of Kuka, during the virtual annual press conference on March 25, 2021. Free cash flow in 2020 was 37 million euros, significantly higher than in previous years (2019: 20.7 million euros).
"Corona has impacted us globally in everything from manufacturing to customer service to supply chains to everyday work," said Kuka CEO Peter Mohnen.
However, tighter structures are necessary to be prepared for a market that was already difficult before the pandemic and that will only recover slowly, Mohnen explained. In order to stabilize the Group in the long term, Kuka implemented comprehensive cost-cutting and efficiency measures. Special effects from the measures, together with the Corona-related decline in orders and sales, led to negative EBIT of -113.2 million euros (2019: 47.8 million euros).
Kuka made substantial savings, particularly in indirect areas, but invested in research and development and thus in the future viability of the Group. R&D expenses rose to 178 million euros in 2020 (2019: 160.5 million euros). The EBIT margin fell from 1.5% to -4.4%. The two Kuka segments Swisslog and Swisslog Healthcare - experts for intralogistics and automation in hospitals and pharmacies - were the only two Kuka divisions with slightly positive EBIT in 2020.