Bene, one of the leading companies in the European office furniture industry, improved its sales by 12% to EUR 151.4 million and even increased the EBIT at an above-average rate of 27% to EUR 9.3 million in the 2018 financial year. The office furniture expert seamlessly continued this positive trend in the first quarter of 2019 and set a solid foundation for continuing its steady growth in the coming year by executing international framework agreements.
In 2018, the Bene Group continued its positive development from the previous year and increased its sales by 12% from EUR 135.1 million to EUR 151.4 million. At the same time, the expert for office furniture made above-average improvements to all earnings figures. Overall, the EBIT of EUR 7.3 million rose by 27% to EUR 9.3 million 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. This makes the Bene Group one of the strongest and most recognised 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,” said Jörg Schuschnig, Executive Board Member for Finances and Production at Bene, commenting on the good earnings development which was particularly due to the high innovative power, targeted product development, focus on sustainably successful key markets and increases in productivity. With a strong equity ratio of 46.0% (31 December 2017: 42.7%), the capital structure of the Bene Group as of 31 December 2018 continued to be very robust.
Substantial increase in sales
In a very competitive global environment, the Bene Group prevailed in the past financial year in numerous international tenders around the world and could thereby increase its sales to EUR 151.4 million. Bene showed an impressive performance especially in the core markets Austria, France and – despite all uncertainties related to the impending BREXIT – in the UK. The company was also very successful in Belgium, India and Russia with significant sales growth. Additionally, Bene achieved consistently positive business development in Germany, its largest market, which contributed about 20% to its total sales.
Innovations and successful furniture concepts are catalysts for growth
The strong connection between design and architecture, between form and function, is a major component of Bene’s company and product philosophy. Bene also demonstrated this with its recently presented product lines PIXEL and STUDIO by Bene, both of which have won multiple international awards within a very short space of time. “When it comes to international tenders, Bene regularly excels with its high innovative power and the development of successful furniture concepts, as well as with its key strength ‘Planning and design of space solutions.’ 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,” is how Michael Fried, Executive Board Member for Sales, Marketing and Innovation at Bene, explains the encouraging growth in last year’s business volume.
Continued focus on key markets in Europe, the Middle East and Far East Asia in 2019
Bene is an international brand that is represented today in over 40 countries and is one of Europe’s top companies. In 2019, Bene will continue to focus on the markets of Austria, Germany, France, UK and Russia, as well as 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 already one of the defining players and further increased its brand awareness in this important market when PIXEL was awarded as the “Office Product of the Year 2018”. With numerous projects and a well-filled pipeline, Bene expects further positive development in 2019.
Investment programme of continues
The Bene Group continued its ambitious investment programme at the Waidhofen/Ybbs site and in its international presence in 2018. Investments in property, plant and equipment amounted to more than EUR 5 million, the largest proportion of which, at EUR 4 million, was spent on the modernisation of the machine park. Bene also made major investments in its international showrooms and in 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 plan is to optimise the spaces so that the development of new products can be accelerated even more.
Bene uses only wood products tested for sustainability
In December 2018, Bene became the first Austrian company to be certified according to ISO 38200. This new, globally recognised international standard ensures the traceability and legality of the wood used in production, plus end-to-end monitoring of the upstream supply chain, guaranteeing that Bene uses exclusively legal and sustainable woods in its office solutions. Bene has also been certified according to PEFC and FSC® for many years, two additional recognised standards to ensure and market sustainable forest management. This proves that the wood and wood products which Bene uses in its production come from ecological, economical and socially sustainable forestry.
Numerous design awards highlight Bene’s innovative talent
PIXEL and STUDIO by Bene were big winners of international design awards in 2018. The iF Design Award in Gold, “#1 Büroprodukt 2018” (“#1 Office Product 2018”), the Red Dot Award, the German Design Award 2019 and the Architects’ Darling® Award are the most recent in a long series of awards that have been bestowed on Bene. The list of design prizes that Bene has received is actually much longer. 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 all allow us to look optimistically to 2019. Currently, we are going full steam ahead with the development of new products which we will be introducing in the autumn to reinforce our competence as drivers of innovation. Similarly, preparations for the presentation of STUDIO by Bene at the Salone del Mobile in Milan at the beginning of April are also in full swing. These and numerous other key events confirm in no uncertain terms that the Bene Group is on the right track,” Michael Fried and Jörg Schuschnig agree, confident that Bene will continue to achieve improved sales and earnings in 2019.