Industrial glass maker Schott ended a “rather difficult” fiscal 2009 with a loss but says rise in drug packaging sales will help drive double-digit earnings growth in current financial year.
The German firm, which released its results for the 12 months ended September 30, 2009 late last week, posted an operating deficit of €22m ($30m), which is down from the €283m it recorded for the year-earlier equivalent period.
The precision materials segment, which includes Schott’s pharmaceutical systems unit, generated €681m for fiscal 2009 as flat sales to the drug manufacturing industry failed to offset a 15 per cent drop in revenue from its electronic packaging division.
The firm explained that lower sales of pharmaceutical tubing had been offset by growth in Asia, citing “positive development” in India and Indonesia as the best performing parts of the business.
Schott’s pharmaceutical business also grew in South America in fiscal 09, thanks to its acquisition of Argentinean packaging firms Medical Glass, a drug vial producer, and ampoule maker DIEASCA.
However, in the five months since the end of Schott’s fiscal year, the economic picture seems to have changed somewhat, given company chairman Udo Ungeheuer positive comments at the results presentation on March 19.
Prof Ungeheuer said that: “We are beginning to leave the economic crisis behind us and will increase our sales by a double digit percentage.”
He went on to explain that: “Short-time work, cost reductions and the voluntary decisions made by employees not to accept bonuses were all important factors in limiting damages.”
And, while Ungeheuer did not go into details, the announcement that plans to set-up an ampoules and vials facility in Russia by the end of the year are back on, coupled with its recently opened plant in China and launch of pharmaceutical tubing production in Mainz, Germany, suggest Schott sees the drug industry as an increasing important market.