A quiet start turned into a busy year28-01-2022
Commentary on 2021
by Managing Director Carsten Jespersen, KE Fibertec AS
Looking back on the past year
A low order backlog at the beginning of the year was quickly replaced by high activity, and especially in the second half of the year we have been incredibly busy. In fact, November 2021 was our best month in terms of revenue since the COVID-19 outbreak, which is quite unusual. Our high season tends to be between May and October, but like so much else, this has also been turned upside down. Overall, KE Fibertec has had a really good year, where we set a new revenue record, and at the same time we realised our second best bottom line result in history.
In the middle of the COVID-19 shutdown in the spring of 2021, we made a strategic acquisition of a competitor, which so far has gone according to plan, but not entirely without challenges with the very limited travel possibilities, but fortunately we have long been well trained in online meetings. We can only be very satisfied with the development in 2021, where the strategies we set for the year, partly with further development of our sustainable journey and partly with the establishment of new divisions have succeeded, and we have reached the goals of the important milestones we set at the beginning of the year. All in all, 2021 was a really good year after a quiet start.
Action behind the words with sustainable initiatives
With a global climate crisis, it is more important than ever that words are translated into action with concrete measures and the development of more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient alternatives that ensure a future-proof, sustainable transition. That KE Fibertec works with sustainability and that we want to take responsibility for the environment as a global company is nothing new. This applies to everything we do - from the production to the transport of the product to the customer and to how our products can be recycled after use, where we place great demands on all links in our supply chain.
Based on our first important milestone back in 2012 with a Cradle to Cradle certification of the world's first textile based ventilation solution, we have worked purposefully to improve and develop our products and processes continuously over the years, and today it forms the entire basis for a circular mindset. Here, the UN's 17 World Goals have been an integral part of our strategy and have been included as a kind of guide for our ambitious goal of becoming CO2 neutral by 2030. Another important milestone on this journey was met in July with a certification in the UN's World Goals through Bureau Veritas.
More design options with new "green" colours
In the spring, we expanded our range of the material GreenWeave and can now offer exclusively Cradle to Cradle-approved colours. With this initiative, we have been able to reduce our water consumption and wastewater by more than 67% compared to a conventional dyeing, which is completely in line with our goal of more sustainable solutions - we call it Green Thinking.
By choosing the material GreenWeave alone, you are doing something good for the environment, as the material is 100% recyclable without chemical additives, but now we can also offer it in a number of beautiful colours for our CradleVent® ventilation solution. During the year, we have worked to expand our Cradle to Cradle range, and at the turn of the year we can offer another material of the same high quality, which is also certified according to the Cradle to Cradle standard.
Documentation for the sustainable construction of the future is ready
Today, the Danish construction industry generally has a strong focus on sustainable initiatives and the development of environmentally sound solutions, but we must work much more purposefully and concretely to achieve the goal of reducing the overall negative CO2 footprint in the industry. There is a will to make a difference, and sustainable construction is more in demand today, so it is now that we need to put words into action.
In order to meet our customers with relevant documentation, we have over the summer in collaboration with Rambøll Denmark prepared a report documenting how textile based ventilation contributes and can give points not only according to a sustainable building certification of the DGNB standard, but also according to the Danish Voluntary Sustainability Class. We can now offer complete documentation packages with well-structured material to consultants, contractors and architects, which provides a good basis for choosing the right products for construction projects and for a good indoor climate.
Another highlight that we will remember is the celebration of KE Fibertec's 25th anniversary in May with a large global, virtual gathering of employees from all divisions throughout the KE Group. It was a festive day that we are proud of and grateful to be able to celebrate on top of an uneven year with COVID-19.
Expectations for 2022
Together with our owners, Jysk-Fynsk Kapital A/S, we have initiated work on a new strategy plan towards 2025 with the title “Sustainable Growth”. In general, we look very positively at the development over the coming years, although commodity prices, energy prices and not least freight prices have completely skyrocketed in 2021. With our own in-house weaving mill, we are not as affected by lack of materials or extreme price increases as so many other companies in the ventilation industry, but of course it is a concern. We could well fear that the result could be a slowdown in activity throughout the construction industry.
Development of environmentally friendly packaging concept
In line with an ongoing development towards more environmentally friendly solutions, in 2021 we have also focused on optimising the materials we use for packaging our products. With a completely new packaging design with a global, uniform branding for the entire KE Group, we have succeeded in developing a concept with more than 60% lower CO2 footprint than previous solutions, partly by choosing a more recyclable material and partly focusing on reducing waste by simplifying the range of cartons and by having one common profile. Everything from wrapping the textile duct itself to the tape used to close the cardboard box will be with environmentally friendly solutions that are ultimately easier to waste sort and collectively contribute to a more sustainable packaging. The new concept has been put into production and will be implemented from the beginning of the new year.
The customer in focus
A prerequisite for our positive development, and which we will focus on in the future, is our close collaboration with our customers and partners. Here, through dialogue and development of digital tools, we want to make it easier to do business with us. Not least our specially designed and completely unique dimensioning programme TBV Designer has proven to be crucial in our daily collaboration, where we can tailor the customer's solution to virtually all parameters. Most recently, we have further developed the solution with new air visualisation features, so that we can offer more complete visual material to our customers, which they can use in their further sales material to the end customer. In the new year, a full integration with REVIT will also be available in the software, which will make it even easier for the customer to dimension and work with our solutions within textile based ventilation.
- KE Fibertec is the largest manufacturer of textile ducts on the world market with head office in Vejen, DK, and with production and its own weaving mill. In addition, there are production facilities in Varnsdorf, CZ, and in the USA
- The group consists of the parent company in Denmark and eight subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and the USA
- We employ approx. 135 employees, of which almost two thirds abroad.
- Owned by Jysk-Fynsk Kapital (70%), L. E Kristiansen Erhvervsinvest ApS (10%) and KE Pulje (20%), owned by Managing Director Carsten Jespersen, Director Johnny Kusk Møller and CFO Svend Anker Fogh