A WORD FROM THE CEO
Even with the additional stress brought by the pandemic, the picture of AXEL in 2020 is similar to the previous year. Our European units have done very well with solid financial results. The picture in USA is more complex with a mix of improvements and set-backs, combined with intense business development activities that signal a turn-around in 2021.
Overall the pandemic has had some impact on demand, different by sector and development over time. The automotive industry came to a temporary halt and then gradually opened up. The sudden crash of crude oil price in April put a halt to the US Oil & Gas sector that left a more lasting impact on the demand. In other sectors, such as agriculture and food, there has been much less impact.
AXEL is satisfied to have limited the financial impact from the uncertain business environment. Cost control and other measures have been high on the agenda, while also maintaining a long-term view and pursuing several projects accordingly. This work will of course continue into the new year when we expect to realize new business projects.
The lubricating grease industry has an important role to play in the society, offering high performance products that reduce friction, save energy and protect valuable equipment, thereby contributing to more efficient use of the global resources. AXEL offers a diversified range of high-quality lubricating greases for industries such as automotive, off-road, agriculture, food, steel, mining, pulp & paper, marine, railways and many more. Lubricating grease is a unique niche within the overall lubricants market with ever increasing performance requirements and dynamic sectors to benefit from, including environmentally adapted lubricants. / Johan Stureson, CEO.
IMPORTANT EVENTS IN 2020
- Our management processes were quickly adapted, with an agile mindset as guiding principle, to the new circumstances caused by the declaration of a pandemic in March.
- Our strength is capable local management. Sharing experiences and using video meetings to progress action plans, have become the new normal in response to travel restrictions and general precautions.
- In USA we have continued the pursuit of higher product quality and executed investments to facilitate this, as well as improving manufacturing capabilities.
- The law suit against the Royal Sellers remains in preparation, partly due to procedural delays from external factors.
Axel Group is one of the leading independent players in the niche of grease production. Despite the fact that the lubricating grease industry is a fairly stable market in terms of growth our view is that additional market shares can be attained both in existing markets where we are currently present as well as in new geographies.
Fairford believes there is further value to be created through both organic growth, industry consolidation and improved operations and the latter is especially true for our latest acquisition in the US.