Sales above 1.1 billion euros, net equity stable at 682 million euros. Moreover, the number of employees remained steady at almost 4,600 and the company retained its technological leadership on all markets. These were the key Sacmi Group stats - contained in the 2020 annual report approved by the board of directors - presented to the parent company’s members’ assembly. These figures represent an extraordinary response to a year marred by the pandemic: a year that saw, especially in the first two quarters, interruptions to international supply chains and the temporary suspension of manufacturing in some sectors.
“In this incredibly hard year, SACMI demonstrated just how prepared it is to face such challenges”, the president Paolo Mongardi highlighted. The first step was to safeguard the health of every worker, “making it possible to ensure continuity of both production and assistance in Italy and worldwide. A result achieved thanks to the responsibility, passion and skill of all our people and handled via an immediate nurturing, at every level, of a new digital culture”, Mongardi added.
Working from home arrangements, a special program to protect personnel travelling internationally, reorganization of in-company layouts and workflows, plus an array of solutions to keep us close to customers at all times; this, then, was Sacmi's strategy for weathering the global storm, seizing on the first signs of economic recovery in the second half of the year and closing the year with healthy order books. In short, a strategy that lets us look to 2021 with confidence, with the added boost of a return to relative calm on markets and the development of effective vaccines.
Advanced Technologies and Advanced Materials continue to play an ever-greater role in the Group portfolio. The progress made together with German subsidiaries in developing new components (lithium-ion batteries) for electric vehicles is particularly noteworthy. Likewise, 2020 saw Packaging & Chocolate strengthen both its product range and sales organization, especially on the strategic European market.
Moving on to packaging, 2020 closed with the inauguration of the new Rigid Packaging Technologies Business Unit, into which all Sacmi’s closures, containers, preform, post-processing and vision system operations have been merged. Again, Sacmi’s ability to stay several steps ahead of both standards and markets saw a near-repetition of its 2019 results. Investment in new lightweight solutions and tethered caps continued apace, with the product range now encompassing complex cap assembly solutions (following the acquisition of Velomat and its rapid integration into the Group). On the beverage front, labeling machine sales remained healthy, especially on the US market; however, the pandemic did make customers somewhat more cautious when making investment decisions on complete plants.
Throughout the year customer assistance services played a pivotal role, with Sacmi developing an ability to perform machine/plant start-ups remotely (i.e. “virtual” FATs and SATs). Moreover, all Customer Services are now organized by individual Business Unit, a move designed to provide service packages that are more attuned to each sector’s individual needs.