Kuka closed the 2021 financial year with a significant increase in sales, incoming orders and earnings, as well as growth in all business segments. At 3.6 billion euros, the company recorded the second-highest order volume in its history.
Orders received increased by a total of 27.7% at Group level to around €3.6 billion (2020: €2.8 billion) and sales revenues by 27.7% to €3.3 billion (2020: €2.6 billion). Although global supply bottlenecks and increased material and logistics costs slowed down the positive development, especially in the second half of the year, EBIT rose to €61.8 million (2020: -€113.2 million). The EBIT margin increased to 1.9% (2020: -4.4%). Kuka’s China business in particular saw strong growth, with revenues 48.4% higher than in 2020 and orders received up 39.0%. In the Chinese robotics market, Kuka also made gains in new sectors such as electronics.
Kuka is also supporting more and more automotive customers in the global trend towards e-mobility as they make the transition to new drive systems, for example with automated production systems for battery modules. Demand for electric vehicles is growing, especially in China and North America. Accordingly, orders received by Kuka Systems, the Group’s systems engineering division, rose by 37.3%, driven by strong business in North America.
And with strong demand in e-commerce and the trend towards automated logistics solutions, Kuka’s logistics specialist Swisslog increased sales revenues by 23.4%.
“Our automation and logistics solutions are in increasing demand among small and medium-sized enterprises. Companies in the consumer goods and food industries are also turning to robotics to an ever-greater extent,” said Peter Mohnen. “Our technologies can provide support in a wide variety of areas across all production steps.” With the expanded robot portfolio featuring models such as the KR Delta, as well as new variants like the “Hygienic Oil” robots for food production, Kuka offers the right solutions here.
“Even though we will need to address supply bottlenecks, material shortages and higher costs in the coming months, we see a strong tailwind for Kuka – and we will take advantage of this tailwind,” stated Peter Mohnen. “Our goal is the leading role in robot-based automation by 2025. Our focus here is clearly on driving technologies and innovations forward at an intensive pace. To this end, we will invest around 800 million euro in research and development by 2025, more than ever before.” The key to massive growth is an overarching portfolio and regionally tailored products and solutions for individual markets, especially in general industry. “Kuka will benefit from this growth strategy and our technological orientation in the long term – at all locations around the globe.”