Fiscal year 2021: B. Braun increases sales in a challenging environment

The B. Braun Group increased its sales in FY 2021 by 5.8 percent year over year, to €7,859.9 million (previous year: €7,426.3 million). Thanks to extraordinary efforts, B. Braun was able to ensure delivery capability to its customers, even with significant added pressure on the supply chains.

“2021 was another challenging year for B. Braun. But even with all the uncertainty in the markets, we managed to increase our sales in line with our expectations and strategic goals. We were able to successfully manage considerable fluctuations in demand with our broad portfolio and international presence and the exceptional efforts of our employees. That meant we were able to reliably supply our customers, even in the second year of the pandemic, and stay with them as a strong partner,” B. Braun CEO Anna Maria Braun said during a virtual press conference today.

All of B. Braun’s divisions achieved good sales growth. Hospital Care benefited from the high demand for infusion pumps. Aesculap saw the strongest growth in the wake of a tough year in 2020 due to the pandemic. With scheduled surgeries once again postponed in many countries, however, this division was not yet able to return to pre-crisis levels. Increased sales in the extracorporeal blood treatment segment and the expansion of the wound management business strengthened Avitum’s development.

However, significantly higher purchase prices for raw materials, components, and commercial goods, together with supply bottlenecks, prevented an increase in the results. B. Braun Group EBITDA was stable at €1,101.9 million (previous year: €1,103.2 million). The EBITDA margin fell short of the goal (15 percent of sales), ending up at 14 percent (previous year: 14.9 percent). Earnings before taxes came in slightly below last year’s level, at €408.6 million (previous year: €416.1 million).

“In light of the significantly positive sales growth, we cannot be satisfied with this result,” Braun said. “Especially, significantly higher expenses for the reliable supply of our customers, as well as increased raw material, energy, and logistics costs, could only be passed on to the market to a limited extent, and we were unable to offset these increases despite strict cost management. This weighed on our results. Therefore, we will realize price increases in the current fiscal year as well. We expect volatility to remain high in the markets for the foreseeable future, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. To continue to be a strong partner to our customers, we will strengthen our resilience and innovation power and initiate additional changes within the company. That will unlock additional resources and give us flexibility to continue to invest in our future and accelerate advancements in health care.” 

Investment remains at a high level – net financial debt reduced
Despite the volatile market environment, B. Braun invested over one billion euros in new production and research and development projects in FY 2021. Work to build a new medical production facility was started at the company’s headquarters in Melsungen, and great strides were made in further automating the production of infusion pumps. In Germany, B. Braun also invested in expanding and modernizing its syringe production activities. The company continued its investments at the locations in the United States. By purchasing further shares in Schölly Fiberoptic GmbH, Aesculap secured expertise and technological access in the endoscopic imaging business. Avitum continued its construction work on a new plant to produce disinfection products in Sempach, Switzerland.

B. Braun reduced net financial debt again, this figure went down by 3.6 percent in FY 2021, to stand at €2,447.7 million (previous year: €2,537.9 million). The equity ratio also rose from 37.5 percent in the previous year to 40.7 percent in 2021. “Despite the challenging environment, B. Braun is in healthy financial condition,” said B. Braun CFO Dr. Annette Beller. “To continue to grow from our own resources, we plan to continue our strict resource management and will initiate targeted measures to improve our profitability.”

Over 66. 000 employees: a strong backbone in uncertain times
The B. Braun Group had 66,234 employees as of December 31, 2021
(previous year: 64,317). The main reason for the increase of 3.0 percent year over year was the expansion of production activities in individual countries as demand recovered and acquisitions were integrated into the B. Braun Group. Worldwide, the hard work and dedication of all B. Braun employees was instrumental in ensuring that the company was able to counter the uncertainty in the markets and to dependably be available for customers and patients. “Once again, our employees were the strong backbone of B. Braun. On behalf of the entire B. Braun management board, a big thank you goes out to everyone for all their motivation, flexibility, and dedication,” the CEO said. 

In addition to providing a reliable supply of goods in the inpatient and ambulatory health care sector, B. Braun also forged ahead with crucial topics for the future as part of its corporate strategy, B. Braun – the next decade.” “Our customers are facing the challenge of optimizing their processes by adopting new digital technologies. That’s another place where we are a strong partner, supporting them on this journey. By implementing new technologies, we create innovations in health care – always with the goals of significantly improving clinical outcomes, driving efficiencies in the health care system and enhancing clinician and patient experience”, Braun noted. For example, B. Braun launched the latest generation of infusion pumps, Spaceplus in 2021.
With new connectivity options in place and the first-ever connection to the
B. Braun Cloud, the company is continuing to develop smart infusion therapy in the hospital setting. Other important steps toward the future included the first integrated supply solutions projects from B. Braun Supply Solutions. These projects are aimed at harnessing automation to monitor and prepare instruments in hospital ORs in the future. A much more environmentally friendly Actreen® catheter at Avitum is one of B. Braun’s many sustainability-related activities. Many paths to innovation

B. Braun also advanced and professionalized its sustainability management activities in 2021. Starting this year, the company will be reporting on its sustainability initiatives and goals in an integrated annual report for the first time. The report will show, among other things, how B. Braun is consistently improving its energy footprint in relation to its production output as the company works to reduce CO2 emissions. Sustainability from the depths.

Outlook
For FY 2022, B. Braun expects uncertainty to remain in the markets. The coronavirus pandemic may affect demand for certain product categories again. At the same time, the company expects the current high prices seen for raw materials, energy, and logistics services to still be a factor for the short to medium term.

The war that began on February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, has increased the volatility affecting global economic and financial markets. The overall economic and geopolitical impact and their effects on the net assets, financial position and earnings situation of the B. Braun Group cannot be predicted at this time. The company is continuing to monitor the situation in order to identify and compensate for negative impacts as early as possible. The safety of employees in Ukraine is the company's top priority. At the same time, B. Braun is hard at work on ensuring that the supply of health care goods and services remains secure despite the difficult setting in Ukraine and Russia, and especially that patients with chronic illnesses can continue to receive treatment. 

For further information on the development of our business, please see our current annual report at www.bbraun.com/gb2021.