The INDUS Group – a review of 2020
We started the new decade full of drive in January. At that time, no one could have guessed that the year 2020 would turn out quite differently than expected. The corona pandemic also affected the INDUS Group with small and large challenges, crossed many plans – but also brought forth new, creative solutions.
At the beginning of the year, the increasing spread of the coronavirus pandemic coincided with the preparation of our 2019 annual report. Shortly before going to press, we then had to include the new macroeconomic situation and the associated challenges for the INDUS Group in the annual financial reports – a strenuous effort, but one that our efficient small team managed well.
Both the first and second quarters were then considerably burdened operationally by the economic effects of the corona pandemic. Fortunately, INDUS was able to report a visible upward trend in the third quarter. We also used the time to take significant steps to strengthen our portfolio structure by implementing our “interim sprint” package of measures. The stable cash flow and the high level of available liquidity throughout the year are very pleasing and once again show the financial stability of our Group.
Our 2020 Annual General Meeting was also marked by the corona pandemic. We had to postpone the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting originally planned for May until August. Right up to the end, we had hoped to be able to welcome our shareholders in person to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in Cologne as usual. For everyone’s safety, however, INDUS finally held its first virtual Annual Stockholders’ Meeting on August 13. The event was streamed from a television studio in Cologne-Ossendorf and, despite the unusual setting, was followed online by up to 200 viewers.
Sustainable business and action remains the main guideline for us in the holding company and for our investments – this also applies in times of the corona. We achieved ‘Prime’ status in the ISS ESG Rating for the fifth time. Here INDUS received a “C+” rating in the area of “Corporate ESG Performance” and thus defended its top position in the international comparison group “Financials/Multi-Sector Holdings”. In September, INDUS then placed an ESG-linked promissory note loan for the first time. The interest on this promissory note loan is linked to the sustainability rating of INDUS by ISS ESG.
Although the corona crisis also weighed heavily on the M&A market, we were once again able to report good news at the end of the year. In November 2020 INDUS acquired Jungmann Systemtechnik GmbH & Co. KG (JST), based in Buxtehude. JST offers comprehensive know-how in the development, construction and maintenance of control rooms for a wide range of industries with high security requirements. JST finds an individual solution for each customer requirement – it speaks for itself that the control room specialist was awarded the TOP Innovator Prize this year.
Companies in the INDUS Group also received awards in 2020. Three portfolio companies were rewarded for their systematic innovation management. Once again, proof that even in difficult times, the portfolio companies move forward with courage and creativity, develop innovative products and open up new markets.
Thus, the year 2020 was marked by light and shade – and no one can say today exactly how the next year will develop and how much more corona will weigh on the economic environment. We are certain that the INDUS portfolio companies will continue to respond flexibly and creatively to the many challenges as before if we continue to focus on our SME values and principles. So we are entering the coming year with confidence.
On behalf of my colleagues on the Board of Management and the entire INDUS team, we wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a healthy start to the New Year.
With kind regards,
Your Dr. Johannes Schmidt
Dr.-Ing. Johannes Schmidt
Dr. Johannes Schmidt studied applied mathematics and obtained his doctorate for Dr.-Ing. in the department of mechanics. He has been a member of the Board of Management of Indus since 2006 and has taken over the chairmanship of the Executive Board by July 1, 2018.