ZURICH, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Geberit’s ( GEBN.S ) sales fell by 2% in 2022, the Swiss plumbing supplies maker said on Thursday, as wholesalers ran down stocks to skirt price rises and a trend for home improvement projects that caught on during the COVID-19 pandemic began to ebb.
Sales decreased to 3.39 billion Swiss francs ($3.70 billion) from 3.46 billion francs in 2021, which was a record year for a company whose pipes and ceramics are used in renovation and new-build projects.
The company, which reaffirmed guidance from November for a core profit (EBITDA) margin of around 27% for 2022, said in local currencies increased by 4.8%. But converting those revenues into Swiss francs had a negative impact of 234 million francs.
Revenues were driven by price increases of around 9%, Geberit said, as its raw materials costs also rose.
Sales volumes hit a record level in the first half due to the build-up of inventories at wholesalers.
But volumes fell in the second half of 2022 as those stocks were run down, while the company also said it was seeing the end of the pandemic-era trend of households choosing to renovate their homes rather than move.
Both those trends were particularly marked during the fourth quarter, when sales fell nearly 14% to 667 million francs.
Sales figures from Geberit, which also makes shower toilets, are considered an indicator of the health of the broader construction industry.
Geberit said it also saw a shift in demand away from the bathroom and plumbing products it provides to heating products to tackle more expensive energy prices in Europe.
The Swiss company is due to report full-year earnings on March 8.
($1 = 0.9164 Swiss francs)
Reporting by John Revill; editing by John Stonestreet
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.