Sandler deals with the energy crisis

The nonwovens specialist is looking back on a difficult financial year 2023. Meanwhile, energy prices have declined, and the measures introduced are taking effect.

The aftermath of the Ukraine war in particular had a significant impact on Sandler Group’s 2023 balance sheet. However, the nonwoven manufacturer has bottomed out and is on its way to stabilization.

Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler | Sandler Group

The Group - which includes Sandler AG (Schwarzenbach, Germany) and Sandler Nonwoven Corporation (Perry, GA, USA) - achieved sales of 338 million euros in 2023. In the previous year, revenue amounted to 420 million euros, the company reports. The decline in turnover primarily affected the AG. In contrast, business at the Sandler  nonwovens Corporation developed in a “stable” manner. As a result of the decline in sales, the company also had to accept a negative result for the year.

The cause of this “undoubtedly unpleasant development in 2023” is, in particular, the exploding costs for electricity and natural gas which also hit Sandler full force last year. Added to this are the “very unsettled global framework conditions”.

This has put a heavy strain on the Group's competitiveness, as volumes were lost in the short term. Especially in the Hygiene and Wipes fields of application, the decline in sales was significant, the company explained.

„The past business year was not satisfactory”, regrets Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Management Board.  However, Sandler emphasizes that the company is set for the future. “Sandler AG is on a firm footing and is planning investments in innovative machines and other future projects, which we will continue to finance from internal funds.” Moreover, and in contrast to the general trend, the curve points noticeably upwards again for Sandler in 2024. "The business situation has stabilized," emphasizes the CEO, even if the earnings situation is not yet at the level it was before the energy crisis. Our order books are well filled for the third quarter of 2024, so Sandler remains confident: "Things are looking up, and we are also positive and optimistic about the future in terms of expected earnings." The company cites specific reasons for this: Sandler Group has been able to further expand its position in the business fields of acoustics and mobility and is working on promising new  developments and sustainable product solutions.

Staff numbers declined slightly. The annual average for 2023 was 970 (2022: 990), as vacancies were not filled due to capacity utilization. The number of apprentices remained stable at 64 in 2023, as the company will continue to focus on vocational training and dual study programs in the future.

In its 145 years of existence, there have always been difficult times for Sandler, the CEO looks back. “Time and again, we had to face challenges and have reacted courageously to changes and pushed ahead with new ideas.” This strategy has not changed to this day. The decisive factor is to look ahead and the motivation to work consistently on the issues of the future. Dr. Sandler states: “We’re a team where everyone contributes constructively and pulls together - and that's great.”

Reducing energy costs and thus keeping the carbon footprint as small as possible remains a key issue. With the investment in a photovoltaic system, Sandler reaches another milestone on the path to decarbonization. In 2023, the company installed more than 4,000 photovoltaic modules covering an area of over 10,000 square meters on the roof of a production hall. With this investment of two million euro, Sandler will be able to operate a large production line almost exclusively with its own green power on sunny days. The system is set to go into operation as soon as approval has been granted. Further projects are currently under review.

    Annual report 2023 | Sandler Group
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