How Lindéngruppen and our Group companies developed during 2020.
In 2020, Covid-19 affected all companies within the Group to varying degrees. Already in March all Group companies took immediate and forceful measures to prevent the spreading of the virus and to protect the health and safety of our people. Another immediate priority was to ensure continuity in production, sourcing and distribution and to secure liquidity through reduced costs, deferred investments and increased credit facilities.
Swift action and tremendous efforts from everyone in the organisation had the desired effect and already by summer business had stabilised. The second half of the year proved unexpectedly strong across all businesses, resulting in an outstanding overall outcome for this challenging year.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, Lindéngruppen has been able to continue pursuing key strategic projects, including the development of a sustainable business model by clarifying ambition and goals going forward. An important part of this is the ongoing creation of a broad value creation model which makes it clear how the Group creates not only financial value but also value for the planet, people and communities that we directly and indirectly influence.
Many trends that we saw before the pandemic intensified and new ones emerged. This has among other things sped up Colart and Alex Begg’s focus on B2B and B2C e-commerce platforms, in order to meet a rapid change in customer behaviour.
During the year the Group companies have truly lived up to the values of Lindéngruppen – authenticity, curiosity and a long-term view – and shown true willingness and ability to embrace change.
Boosted by a strong performance in the second half of the year, Beckers has surpassed the previous year’s sales and shown exceptionally good earnings given the challenging conditions. During 2020 Beckers launched a new vision and a sustainable strategy “to be the most sustainable industrial coatings company in the world”. Christophe Sabas was appointed new CEO and introduced a new organisation, strengthening both the local market presence and global functions such as R&D, sustainability, purchasing, HR and finance.
Colart increased its operating profit during the year with increased sales for all three main brands, Winsor & Newton, Lefranc Bourgeois and Liquitex. During the year Colart clarified strategies and measures for each brand with the aim of ensuring long-term sustainable growth. Investments were also made to increase production and distribution capacity and efficiency.
Being dependent on the luxury accessories market, Alex Begg saw a significant decline in sales at the beginning of the year but noted a good recovery in the fourth quarter. Cost savings reduced the loss compared with the previous year and we expect the market to become more stable as more countries open up and the rules regarding the UK’s exit from the EU become clearer.
During the year Alex Begg acquired the Scott & Charters, a leading producer of knitted cashmere, to further broaden its business and commit to the conviction that there is a long-term demand for beautiful products made by skilled people.
Höganäs AB has shown great drive and quickly adapted costs and production volumes in the volatile market. Höganäs conducted an overall analysis of the organisation, which has enabled cost savings through streamlining and focusing operations. The company saw a strong recovery in sales during the fourth quarter.