Economic conditions resulted in a marked fall-off in sales and especially incoming orders during the course of the year. Nevertheless, the international technology concern “clearly remained on course for growth,” stated Chairman of the Board of Management Dr. Leopold von Heimendahl at a press conference in Mainz. The core businesses Home Appliances with “Ceran” glass-ceramic cooking surfaces, Optics and Opto-Electronics as well as Special Glass Tubing were able to maintain momentum.
Dr. von Heimendahl announced increased commitment to several high-tech businesses, including optical materials for the semiconductor industry. Here Schott already leads worldwide with its calcium fluoride crystals, a key component for the manufacture of chips. High-grade plastics are becoming increasingly significant for Schott, for example in its pharmaceutical packaging activities. Schott’s recent entry into photovoltaics is also opening up highly promising prospects.
In the recently completed fiscal year 256 million euros were invested to strengthen existing businesses and build up new activities. Expenditure on research and development amounted to approximately 125 million euros, or a good 6 percent of sales and thus 50 percent half more compared to levels of just a few years ago.
The number of people employed worldwide remains virtually unchanged at 19,700 (19.570). In Germany Schott employs 9,700 people.
The current fiscal year is marked by a number of economic uncertainties, only made greater by the events of September 11, 2001. In the past, Schott has demonstrated that it is well able to hold its own in difficult times. Taking all the opportunities and risks into consideration, Schott is aiming to hold sales at the level of the previous fiscal year, even if an upturn in the world economy is not in sight.
Despite difficult economic developments, the company plans to maintain its innovation offensive. Schott intends to invest around 300 million euros in tangible assets, a third of which will be in the form of advance outlay on the setting up of future businesses such as microlithography and photovoltaics.