VIENNA—Austrian rubber goods manufacturer Semperit Group has reported increased profitability in the first half of 2020, as it made a strategic decision to delay the divestment of its medical gloves business Sempermed earlier in the year.
Group earnings (EBITDA) increased 47.2 percent year-on-year to $68 million, helped by a surge in the medical segment. Earnings margin was up from 9 percent to 13.7 percent during the first six months of the year, Semperit said Aug. 14.
Total sales declined 4.2 percent to $496 million, reflecting a 14 percent fall in industrial sector sales, which more than offset a healthy 14.8 percent increase in the medical segment.
"We are looking back on a very positive earnings development in the first half of the year," said Martin Fuellenbach, chairman of the executive board of Semperit A.G. Holding.
The "exceptional boom" in medical protective gloves market, triggered by COVID-19 and accompanied by price increases, were a major contributor to higher earnings, Fuellenbach said.
First half revenue in the Sempermed segment rose 15 percent to $104 million, due both to higher volumes and increased prices.
Segment earnings stood at $27.2 million in the first half, following negative earnings of $355 million the year before. EBIT margin was above the level of the previous year at 12.9 percent, up from minus-2.9 percent in 2019.
Sales in the industrial sector—which includes segments such as industrial hoses, seals, rubber sheeting, profiles and conveyor belts—were affected by the economic downturn which began in 2019 as well as the negative impact of COVID-19.
For the full year, Semperit said it expects earnings to be "significantly higher" than $80.20 million reported in 2019.
The group, however, expects "significant declines" in both sales and revenue within its industrial segment, particularly in the second half of the year.