The international specialty glass group SCHOTT is continuing its positive development and is setting the course for a new phase of growth with its ongoing investment programme. Despite a generally weak economic environment due to the Coronavirus pandemic, SCHOTT continued to develop its key financial figures positively in the 2020 fiscal year or maintained them at the good level in its key markets including India.
Dr Frank Heinricht, CEO, SCHOTT, emphasised, “Even in currently difficult economic times, we have stayed on course. We are therefore very satisfied with the past fiscal year. This is mainly thanks to our hard preparatory work in recent years. We have demonstrated stringent portfolio management and launched many innovations on the market. At the same time, we initiated the agile culture change in our organisation – and above all, invested with foresight. This has made us more robust as a company and paid off in this particular fiscal year.”
The compnay’s global sales increased by 2.2 per cent to 2.24 billion euros. With an increase in sales of just under six per cent, SCHOTT was particularly successful in Asia. The foreign share of sales increased to 87 per cent including sales of EUR 50 million coming from India.
“Despite unprecedented challenges of last year, SCHOTT India has grown its sales, and expanded its production capacity and workforce – all while maintaining the best quality and safety standards. The Indian Government’s 137 per cent budget increase in healthcare as part of this year’s Union Budget further brings impetus for our efforts to support Atmanirbhar Bharat’s journey as the pharmaceutical hub for the world. Contributing towards the climate neutral focus of our new global strategy, we have also achieved 100 per cent green electricity for our India plants through Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs),” shared Pawan Shukla, President and Managing Director, SCHOTT Glass India.
Since SCHOTT manufactures 11 billion pharmaceutical packages for vaccines and liquid medications every year, the company has a particular system relevance in the pandemic. Three out of four projects worldwide that are currently involved in manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine rely on glass vials from SCHOTT. By the end of 2021, the company will have delivered enough vials for two billion vaccine doses. SCHOTT has already invested in its production capacity since the spring of 2019 and was, therefore, able to ramp up capacities quickly during the pandemic. In total, investments in the pharma sector will amount to around one billion US dollars by 2025. SCHOTT will have spent half of this amount by the end of 2021.
SCHOTT’s Jambusar plant is one of the group’s flagship manufacturing sites for producing Fiolax pharma glass tubes, which are considered gold standard for packaging solutions such as vials and syringes for vaccines.
The fact that SCHOTT realised the record investment it had announced last year as planned, even despite the corona crisis – a total of around EUR 320 million or an increase of around 24 per cent is particularly worth noting.
The inauguration of a new melting furnace in its India plant has enabled a 25 per cent increase in production capacity to 40,000 metric tonnes. The Group also further invested in its Indo-German pharma packaging Joint venture, SCHOTT KAISHA, which is an Indian market leader for Type 1 borosilicate glass vials and a key supplier for vaccine manufactures in India and abroad.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were clearly felt in parts of the portfolio. SCHOTT’s cover glass footprint continued to grow with its partnerships with leading smartphone brands such as vivo and Oppo. Additionally, SCHOTT is proud to supply Xensation Flex to Samsung. It is the world’s first ultra-thin flexible cover glass substrate in mass production.
SCHOTT intends to enter a new growth phase this fiscal year. Despite a difficult economic situation, the company plans to increase its sales by up to five per cent. “Of course, we are also anticipating a decline in demand in some industries. At the same time, our balanced portfolio is helping us. We feel well equipped to master these economic challenges,” said Heinricht.
For a further boost, SCHOTT will once again increase last year’s record investments: 350 million euros will be invested. The investment strategy is consistently aligned with market expectations. The technology group continues to expect positive impulses in pharmaceutical packaging and in the diagnostics area, as well as in cover and thin glasses for smartphones and consumer electronics. New plans include a further tubular furnace for pharmaceutical glass, the location of which has not yet been determined, and the expansion of thin glass production. International focal points are capacity expansions in Asia, Switzerland, Hungary and the US.
SCHOTT will intensify its efforts in the area of climate protection. In its new Group strategy, the company has set itself the ambitious goal of becoming climate neutral by 2030. “We have already reached a first important milestone here,” Heinricht explained.
Worldwide, the Group already covers 75 per cent of its global electricity needs with green power via relevant certificates of origin. At the same time, a whole series of projects have been launched to develop the use of hydrogen and other energy sources for heating the melting units.