Zurich -- Conzzeta Group, which owns the FoamPartner group of flexible foam businesses, said 30 March that the group was "strongly affected by the economic crisis in the 2009 business year and adapted its operations to the weakened market environment."
The group's consolidated net revenues for 2009 were CHF 955.2 million ($902 million), a decline of 35.1 percent on the previous year's sales. Adjusted for negative currency translation effects of 2.4 percent, as well as minor effects due to changes in the scope of consolidation, the fall in net revenues was 32.6 percent.
Conzzeta said its high degree of self-financing and the group's diversification of businesses proved their worth, with its sporting goods and real estate businesses aiding group stability.
The group suffered a small loss of CHF 1.4 million, which includes non-recurring costs of CHF 22.3 million for capacity adjustments. An extraordinary profit from sale of properties meant the group's result was positive at CHF 3.3 million.
Conzzeta's foam business was one of the units which had to cut capacity to meet weakened market demand and lower orders, expected for the long term, the group's 30 March results statement said.
FoamPartner's 2009 sales of CHF 116.8 million represented a decline of 20.1 percent compared with the previous year, with volumes were down in technical (industry, packaging and automotive) and comfort foams (mattress and pillow cores), with the former more strongly affected by the slowdown in demand.
Conzzeta noted that FoamPartner "achieved an important intermediate goal in foam materials development." It called initial customer tests with its new sealant foam RegiSealAqua "a great success."
In comfort foams, the company's novel AventO2 mattress core material, which is enriched with lavender, was successfully launched.
Conzzeta also reports that the FoamPartner plant in Changzhou, China, opened in 2008, significantly increased output in the year, and notes that "local production of important foam types for the Asian growth market is possible."
While the polyurethane foam sector has been hard hit by the economic crisis, the slump in some of Conzzeta's other business has been more dramatic. Its sheet-metal processing systems business (Bystronic) saw a 52.2-percent slump in sales, to CHF 356.1 million, and in its glass-processing systems unit (Bystronic glass) sales were CHF 145.6 million -- a decline of 40.5 percent.
Conzzeta notes that, despite carrying over good orders from 2008, these engineering units "were extremely hard hit by the abrupt downturn in the global economy and had to introduce short-time working as early as the spring of 2009."
Total Conzzeta group employee numbers fell to 3225, a 13.3-percent drop.