The Dussmann Group emerges strongly from the pandemic and continues to drive strategic business development
The Dussmann Group, a leading global multi-service provider, has emerged strongly from the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Strategic development in accordance with Next Level strategy has driven expansion into new areas of business. There was a pandemic-related falloff in catering operations, and at the KulturKaufhaus during the year and business activities in China and Hong Kong were divested at the start of 2020. As a result, the successes achieved in the course of expansion taken by the Dussmann Group are not fully reflected in consolidated Group sales, which remain at the level of the previous year at 2.08 bill. € (2019: 2.13 bill. €).
Since the beginning of the crisis, Dussmann has played a decisive role in the fight to contain the pandemic and its consequences in many countries. The company makes a significant contribution to national crisis management, for example in the cleaning and disinfection of schools, public transport and hospitals, including Covid-19 intensive care wards, care for the elderly and corporate childcare.
“It is important that we remain a stable but flexible partner for our clients and for society in general during these difficult times. Our diverse business model has proved especially effective during the crisis. We have been able to compensate for the slowdown in catering business, for example, through additional specialist disinfection cleaning and engineering contracts,” said Wolf-Dieter Adlhoch, Dussmann Group executive board spokesman. "What’s more, we continue to drive implementation of Next Level strategy. We are leveraging our strengths as a debt-free family enterprise and intend to lead the market in terms of innovation and quality.”
Sales and EBITDA margin remain stable in the crisis
In 2020, the Dussmann Group generated consolidated Group sales of 2.08 bill. € (2019: 2.13 bill. €), maintaining the level of the previous year, despite the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic (-2.6 %). EBITDA on consolidated Group sales, was 5.1 % in 2020, and just as satisfactory as the previous year (2019: 5.0 %). The company division Dussmann Service, with core business in integrated facility management, contributed sales of 1.36 bill. €, which corresponds to a fall of -12.1 % (2019: 1.55 bill. €). This was largely due to the sharp decline in catering operations by around -20 % as staff restaurants closed or restricted operations. The divestment of business activities in Hong Kong and China at the beginning of 2020, with sales in the mid double-digit million euro range also played a role. In contrast, the contribution of Dussmann Technical Solutions (DTS), the building systems and engineering company division founded in 2019, doubled in 2020 to 233 mill. € (2019: 116 mill. €). This is a reflection of our business with clients in the life-science sector and data centers, which played a role only in the second half of the previous year following the acquisition of STS Specialist Technical Services. The company division Care & Kids, which comprises Kursana and KulturKindergärten, grew by 6.0 % in 2020 and contributed 459 mill. € to consolidated Group sales (2019: 433 mill. €). The KulturKaufhaus was impacted by coronavirus restrictions and sales fell by -30.6 % to 25 mill. € (2019: 36 mill. €). The developments of 2020 at the Dussmann Group continued into the start of 2021.
Digitalization and sustainability projects pave the way for expansion into new fields of business
Whilst the Dussmann Group has been extensively involved in the fight against the coronavirus on many fronts, it has launched several projects to enter new fields of business and to facilitate future expansion.
In August 2020, Dussmann founded the joint venture, Chargemaker, with the energy supplier, Mainova AG, helping to drive the breakthrough of electro mobility in Germany. The company offers a full-service portfolio from a single source, giving companies efficient access to e-charging solutions. These include planning, installation, servicing and operation of e-charging stations on private and semi-public premises for clients such as companies and shopping centers.
In February 2021, Dussmann Service launched the Food Service Innovation Lab to lead changes in the catering sector in terms of technology and sustainability. Its goal is to establish new, digital standards and processes in the food service industry using a platform-based solution. From farm to fork, processes along the value chain will be digitalized, releasing kitchen chefs from spreadsheets and order processing by phone or email and giving them more time for creative processes.
New concepts of nursing and care, such as at the Kursana Quartier, reflect the demand by seniors in care for autonomous, independent living for as long as possible. It involves a variety of services as an alternative to the traditional nursing home. Quality standards at existing Kursana facilities have proved their worth under the conditions of the pandemic; past experience with other infectious diseases such as the norovirus enabled Kursana to establish sound hygiene concepts and preventive measures according to RKI (Robert Koch-Institute) standards at the very start of the pandemic. Kursana focuses on hygiene and puts pandemic guidelines into effect, always ensuring that the health of residents and employees is the top priority.
The Dussmann Group increases business with acquisitions and hones the portfolio
The Dussmann Group has expanded its service portfolio and expertise through strategic acquisition. In March 2021, through its subsidiary, Dussmann Service Austria, the Dussmann Group acquired the Janus Group, registered in Vienna. The Austrian company employs around 1,300 people in cleaning and disinfection operations for healthcare facilities. Services are also provided in sensitive areas such as operating theaters, Covid-19 intensive wards and clean rooms. Janus clients include the university clinic AKH Wien, one of the biggest hospitals in Europe.
In early 2021, Dussmann expanded the technical portfolio of Dussmann Technical Solutions by acquiring K.E.D. Kälte- u. Klimatechnik GmbH, registered in Bischofsmais. Around 90 employees advise, plan, construct and install refrigeration and air-conditioning systems and provide after sales services. Clients include food retailers, hotels, commercialreal estate and public sector facilities.
Only recently, on May 1, 2021, the Dussmann Group acquired the Polish company Net Service S.A. with around 40 employees. Net Service is a specialist in the planning, installation and maintenance of technical systems with a focus on electrical engineering, building automation, automatic doors, alarm systems and fire protection systems. The acquisition strengthens the technical service expertise of Dussmann Service's presence in the Polish market and expands its service portfolio as an integrated FM provider in Poland.
In April 2020, Dussmann announced the sale of business activities in China and Hong Kong. This transaction is in line with the strategy to concentrate resources on profitable growth in Europe, the Middle East and selected Asian markets.
Dussmann Service focuses on innovation and digitalization in facility managemen
In existing facility management activities, Dussmann is focusing on innovative solutions to generate organic growth. Dussmann Service is systematically introducing digital services and products such as cobotics. The term is a combination of the words “cooperation” and “robotics” and describes the collaboration between human beings and robots. Intelligent cleaning robots are deployed in cleaning operations to complement manual cleaning so that cleaning professionals have more time for complex tasks such as disinfectant cleaning.
Digital technologies are also gaining in importance in technical services. For example, "digital twins” are created using innovative camera technology; 3D photos are made of building interiors and rooms are recreated in digital form. This facilitates presentation of rooms at a distance and better planning and documentation of maintenance, renovation and conversion work.
In Luxembourg, Dussmann Service recently integrated a security robot into its service operations; the robot carries out autonomous patrols during the day and night and its intelligent camera software can recognize potential threats. To make use of swarm technology, it exchanges data with other security robots and the service center.
The battle against the coronavirus has shaped 2020 – and will continue to do so
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Dussmann Group workforce has been making a wide scope of contributions to the battle, all over Europe. A few examples:
- At the beginning of the pandemic, Italy was especially hard hit. Teams from the largest international Dussmann subsidiary cleaned and disinfected hospitals in the badly affected area of Lombardy, the ferries and Vaporetti in Venice and the high-speed train fleet operated by national railways. They provided meals at a field hospital for Covid-19 patients in Bergamo, an epicenter of the crisis.
- Dussmann Technical Solutions was involved in expansion of the production capacity of the chemical and pharmaceutical company Lonza Group in Switzerland, where Covid-19 vaccine Moderna is manufactured. With our help, other clients in the life-science sector also further expanded research and production capacities.
- Kursana, a member of the Dussmann Group, operates 116 facilities for nursing and care of the elderly, a sector, which was significantly impacted by the pandemic. Protection and care of this vulnerable group in accordance with the guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute is a sensitive task in the fight against the virus.
- Dussmann KulturKindergarten educators at corporate childcare facilities, provide emergency care for the children of essential personnel, for example at hospitals.
- Industrial clients also put their confidence in Dussmann. One example was the leading automobile supplier, Webasto; Dussmann teams carried out disinfection of headquarters in Stockdorf after the first reported cases of Covid-19 in Germany at the beginning of 2020.
- Catherine von Fürstenberg-Dussmann, Chairwoman of the Dussmann Group board of trustees, concluded: “The dedication and know-how of our corona heroes has been indispensable in keeping economic and social functions going in many of our markets. Around the globe, our teams have held their ground in the crisis, sometimes under very difficult conditions, and they have done a great job. I owe them my special thanks. They have contributed a great deal to making the world a little safer.”