Even amid the difficult circumstances of fiscal 2022, the world’s leading plastics company achieved solid turnover of more than EUR 2.3 billion (+2.5%)
“We generated substantial turnover of more than EUR 2.3 billion in a truly turbulent global environment in which growth was far from guaranteed. At the same time, we systematically continued on our path toward decarbonization and the circular economy. Our greatest assets in this remain our more than 11,600 employees and their innovative strength, but also the versatility of our markets and industries,” said Axel Kühner, Chief Executive Officer of Greiner AG, at the presentation of the integrated 2022 annual report.
At the same time, growth was lower than originally expected, as Hannes Moser, Chief Financial Officer of Greiner AG, explained. “The reasons for this lie primarily in external factors that are affecting companies worldwide and across all industries. These include high inflation, rising energy prices and high transportation and personnel costs passing on these enormous cost increases was possible only to a limited extent. Nevertheless, we achieved turnover well in excess of EUR 2 billion for the second consecutive year and are pleased with that outcome given the circumstances. We also invested a total of EUR 169 million, more than ever before in the company’s history.” The main focus of investment was on upgrading and expanding machinery and equipment (EUR 65.7 million) and in the area of digitalization (EUR 7.5 million). The majority of the funds were invested in Europe (81%), followed by the USA (5.6%), South America (4%) and Asia (2.8%).
In addition to cost increases, developments in society as a whole had an impact on the performance of the three Greiner division companies. “During the pandemic, there was strong demand for sofas and mattresses, and thus increased orders for the NEVEON foam division. In 2022, that demand was comparatively muted. At Greiner Bio-One, increased demand for the VACUETTE® Virus Stabilization Tubes also dropped sharply. Orders for the Greiner Packaging division remained the most stable,” said Manfred Stanek, Chief Operating Officer of Greiner AG.
Greiner Packaging, the largest of the three division companies with more than 5,000 employees, increased its turnover by 17.7% to EUR 909 million in the previous year. NEVEON’s turnover remained at a constant level of EUR 732 million (-0.3% compared with 2021). The same applies to the Greiner Bio-One medical products business with turnover of EUR 693 million (-0.4%).
Acquisitions and participations relating to the circular economy
In 2022, Greiner entered the recyclables business for the first time with the purchase of a Serbian recycling company, thus setting a milestone in the field of the circular economy. Some recycled materials, all of which previously had to be bought in from external suppliers, will now be produced in house. Greiner expanded its areas of activity in the previous year with several investments handled by the Greiner Innoventures innovation hub. Examples of these investments include MATR, a start-up that offers recycling services for mattresses in the hotel industry; Hempstatic, another start-up that produces soundproofing panels made of hemp; and new subsidiary Greiner Zeroplast, which develops material for bio-based plastics. All acquisitions and investments are united by the fact that they contribute to Greiner’s sustainability strategy.
Sticking with sustainability targets and commitment to Science Based Targets initiative
Greiner’s global carbon footprint is currently more than 2.8 million metric tons of CO2. “We are aware of our enormous footprint and the responsibility that comes with it. By voluntarily disclosing our non-financial key figures and emissions figures, we want to show very clearly where we are today and where we want to go. By 2030, we aim to be a climate-neutral company in the area of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions,” said Kühner.
In addition to climate action, the areas of circular economy and people are among the three pillars of the Blue Plan sustainability strategy that Greiner developed in 2020. Greiner wants to stick to the targets laid down in this strategy, even in difficult times. “Just because there is more of a headwind now does not mean we will be straying from our course. We are convinced that the sustainable transformation process is needed now more than ever if we are to continue to exist as a company in our industry,” said Kühner. It is for this reason that Greiner submitted its climate targets to the global Science-Based Targets initiative in November last year. By doing so, the company has committed to the science-based targets needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
In the third sustainability area – people at Greiner – the integrated report reveals successes and potential for improvement in equal measure. In 2022, women accounted for 26% of management positions. However, the target Greiner has set itself is 35% by 2025 and 40% by 2030. The number of hours of training at the company has improved significantly, increasing from an average of 11 hours per employee in 2021 to 15 hours. The target for 2025 are 16 hours of training per employee.
Outlook: 2023 remains economically challenging
High energy prices and rising transport costs continue to hamper the situation in all areas. Inflation will drive both material and personnel costs. This will result in a rising cost base – and in a situation that makes it increasingly difficult to pass on prices.
“Overall, our group remains on a positive course despite everything. We are strong enough to get through the current difficult market phase successfully. As soon as conditions return to normal, we will successfully continue on our long-term growth course. Irrespective of the current challenging phase, we will continue our transformation process unflinchingly in the current year,” Kühner concluded.