Fives played its cards right in 2019, in a complex and uncertain world.

Frédéric Sanchez
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Fives

The Group reorganized its businesses into three major Activities: High Precision Machines, covering our entire machine tool portfolio, focused on precision; Smart Automation Solutions, where speed, flow management and automation are critical; and Process Technologies, the Group’s historic business, serving major raw material processing industries with one constant priority, sustainability. These primary businesses are supported by transversal expertise, specifically helping us to accelerate the digital development of the Group’s subsidiaries, as well as their service-related activities. The reorganization promoted our ability to perform in a more agile manner to responsively address the dynamically changing markets we serve.

In conjunction, we have accelerated our transformation and continued the efforts implemented in 2018, restoring sustainable growth, enhancing control of operating margins and reducing structural costs. These initiatives are reflected in our year-end results. We recorded approximately €1.9 billion in well-rounded orders with significantly improved margins vs. 2018. Our profitability, compared to 2018’s gross operating profits, reflects an increase of more than 6%.

2019 was also characterized by the adoption of a new sense of purpose, Faire aimer l’industrie, and its associated brand signature, Industry can do it. Both completely define our organization and provide a path for the future.

In 2020, the world demonstrated its unpredictability once again, and the COVID-19 epidemic rapidly became a global pandemic; one of the most significant health and financial crises of our time. This unprecedented situation requires caution and humility.

Since the beginning of the crisis, our first priority has been keeping our internal and external stakeholders safe; a mindset that remains our perspective. In coordination with the Group’s Senior Executive Committee, we are closely monitoring the operational and commercial conditions of all our subsidiaries, supporting the implementation of the best available options, ensuring business continuity for our customers and mitigating the financial impact of the crisis; all while adhering to the most stringent health and safety standards.

It’s still too early to measure the actual impact of COVID-19 on Fives overall. However, the scope of the crisis will likely affect major global trends. I am completely convinced that Fives has the assets and resilience to overcome this situation and embrace these changes. Developments we implemented a few years ago within the Group, including digitizing our work practices and offer, will become even more worthwhile. We will also see opportunities emerge which Fives will be able to capture, i.e.: logistics and e-commerce.

There will be greater awareness of the impact mankind has on the planet and its consequences on health. Fives’ commitment to reduce its environmental footprint and that of its customers will become a greater asset for differentiating ourselves. Finally, we rely on our expertise, - the Group’s men and women - who will shape the Fives of the future.