Bene marked a very successful year in 2018, and the office furniture company is confident its success will continue in 2019.
In 2018, the Bene Group saw positive development from the previous year with a 12% increase from 135.1 million to 151.4 million euros. At the same time, it made above-average improvements for all earnings. Overall, the EBIT of 7.3 million euros rose by 27% to 9.3 million euros, and the EBIT margin increased from 5.4% to 6.2%.
“As we did in 2017, we have been able to achieve notable improvements in the Group result and the equity ratio, thus consolidating the Group's financial strength,” said Jörg Schuschnig, executive board member for finances and production, of the earnings credited to the innovation, product development, focus on sustainably successful key markets and increases in productivity. ”This makes the Bene Group one of the strongest and most recognized players in the office furniture industry. Bene is thus in an excellent position to face the future and the next steps in its strategic growth,”
With a strong equity ratio of 46% (Dec. 31, 2017: 42.7%), the capital structure of the Bene Group as of Dec. 31, 2018, continued to be robust.
Substantial increase in sales
In a very competitive global environment, the Bene Group prevailed in the past financial year in numerous international deals and could increase its sales to 151.4 million euros. Bene showed an impressive performance, especially in the core markets of Austria and France, despite the uncertainties of Brexit in the U.K. The company was also very successful in Belgium, India and Russia and Germany, its largest market. Germany contributed about 20% to its total sales.
Innovations and successful furniture concepts
The strong connection between design and architecture and between form and function is a major component of Bene's company and product philosophy. Bene demonstrated this recently with its PIXEL and STUDIO product lines, both of which have won multiple international awards within a very short space of time.
When it comes to international deals, Bene regularly excels with its innovation and the development of successful furniture concepts, as well as with its key strength, the planning and design of space solutions, said Michael Fried, executive board member for sales, marketing and innovation, of the growth in last year's business volume.
“The unique combination of functionality and timeless design, coupled with competitive project pricing, increasingly makes us a preferred project partner when it comes to implementing complex office solutions,” Fried said.
Continued focus on key markets
Bene is an international brand represented in more than 40 countries and one of Europe's top companies. In 2019, it will continue to focus on the markets of Austria, Germany, France, the U.K. and Russia, plus the Middle East and Far East Asia. In Germany, with locations in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich in addition to dealers throughout the country. Bene is one of the defining players and further increased its brand awareness in this important market when PIXEL was awarded “Office Product of the Year 2018” by Das Büro. With numerous projects and a well-filled pipeline, it expects further positive development in 2019.
Investment program continues
The Bene Group continued an ambitious investment program at the Waidhofen/Ybbs site and in its international presence in 2018. Investments in property, plants and equipment amounted to more than 5 million euros, the largest proportion of which was 4 million euros spent on the modernization of the machine park. Bene also made major investments in its international showrooms and IT infrastructure in 2018. In 2019, Bene will continue to keep its investment budget at a similarly high level, investing above all in the production site. The plans are to optimize the spaces so development of new products can be accelerated.
Wood products tested for sustainability
In December 2018, Bene became the first Austrian company to be certified according to ISO 38200. This new, globally recognized, international standard ensures Bene uses legal and sustainable woods. The company has been certified according to PEFC and FSC for many years, two additional standards that ensure and market sustainable forest management.
Numerous design awards
PIXEL and STUDIO were big winners of international design awards in 2018, including The iF Design Award in Gold, “#1 Office Product 2018, the Red Dot Award, the German Design Award 2019 and the Architects' Darling Award. More than 140 awards in recent years underscore Bene's expertise in design and innovation.
A well-filled project pipeline, highly motivated staff and a creative pool pressing ahead with innovations allow the company to look optimistically at 2019. The company is going full steam ahead with the development of new products that will be introduced in the fall.
Also, STUDIO is being shown at the Salone del Mobile in Milan this week.