Ended the year 2019 with a decline in turnover
Danzer, a hardwood company specializing in timber from temperate forests in the northern hemisphere, even suffered a double-digit drop in sales of 11 percent in 2019 compared to the previous fiscal year. In total, the Austrians generated annual sales of 180 million euros; in 2018 the figure was 202 million euros. The two main reasons for the decline in turnover are the closure of parquet face layer production in France and the sharp drop in sales of sawn timber in North America due to the trade dispute between the USA and China. The company is reacting by adjusting its business operations and overhead costs. In the future, Danzer will focus on those business areas for which it has clear competitive advantages.
44 percent of the company's 2019 turnover of 180 million euros came from the sale of sliced products, 33 percent from sawn products and the remaining 23 percent from roundwood, specialties and services. In 2019 Danzer delivered products to 76 countries. The following ten countries accounted for 76 percent of sales, in that order: USA, UK, Germany, Canada, China, Austria, Poland, Mexico, India and Slovakia. Sales remained stable or increased in most regions compared to 2018. Sales to China decreased by two thirds, mainly due to lower sales of sawn hardwoods. Danzer's sales in Europe also declined: Traditional veneer production in Europe was limited to species that can be profitably marketed and sustainably purchased. Following the closure of Danzer France, parquet face layer production was unable to offset the planned reduction in classic veneer production.
In view of lower sales figures, Danzer streamlined its operations and reduced costs throughout Europe and North America. Hans-Joachim Danzer, CEO, explains: "The recent adjustments have put Danzer in a strong position to implement our strategy: Using modern technology to ensure customer-oriented and efficient use of the valuable hardwood resource and promoting the use of hardwoods for its many benefits. Examples at Danzer include waste reduction through knives instead of saws, the use of scanners and artificial intelligence to meet customer requirements, and the development of new hardwood products with superior decorative or functional characteristics". Assets and activities that do not fit into this strategy will be reviewed. Danzer recently sold nearly all of its North American hardwood forest operations.
In 2019, Danzer sold more than 150 different hardwood species: 61 percent of sales were North American, 31 percent European, 7 percent African and 1 percent from other regions of the world. The top ten species accounted for 83 percent of Danzer's 2019 sales. The three top-selling species were European oak, American walnut and American white oak - followed by maple (hard maple), European ash, American cherry, American red oak, sapelli and American white ash. Danzer continues to process all woods as close as possible to their place of origin.Danzer's operating result in the first quarter of 2020 was satisfactory and reflects the cost adjustments made. In April 2020, the corona crisis led to a decline in turnover of approximately 30 percent on a monthly comparison. "We expect turnover to recover slightly in May," concluded Hans-Joachim Danzer.