BÜFA continues growth in 2021

Positive business momentum due to good raw material availability and storage capacity. Sustainability is strongly promoted at all levels

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The Oldenburg-based chemical company BÜFA was able to report positive sales and profit development in fiscal year 2021, which continued to be impacted by the global corona pandemic. Good availability of raw materials and high storage capacities contributed to this despite the international supply bottlenecks. As a result, the BÜFA Group was able to supply its customers with products and services throughout. In the current fiscal year, however, the situation remains challenging with regard to the availability and supply capability of raw materials and merchandise due to disrupted supply chains. 

Compared to 2020, the consolidated group sales of the BÜFA Group increased significantly from EUR 244 million to EUR 343 million. Sales volumes increased by around 10 percent to 251 thousand tons in the past fiscal year. Ordinary results before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to EUR 26 million.  At the same time, BÜFA continues to be solidly financed. The equity ratio at group level is around 50 percent of total assets.

„We have managed the many adversities of the pandemic well and have developed positively throughout the Group with varying degrees of success,“ sums up Felix Thalmann, Chairman and CEO of the BÜFA Group. While the chemical trading business and the composites sector were able to grow, the development at BÜFA Reinigungssysteme initially remained subdued, also due to pandemic-related market difficulties. „In all business areas, we also had to pass on some of the enormous price increases for raw materials to our customers,“ adds Commercial Director Ralf Ramke. 

Overall, however, BÜFA intends to accelerate its organic growth in the coming years. „Together with our employees, we have already set the course for this. Due to our site expansions, we have created the possibilities for large storage capacities as well as good availability of raw materials and thus for a more resilient supply chain. We want to continue to successfully exploit these competitive advantages in the future,“ explains Thalmann. 

Thus, BÜFA’s business has been dynamic so far this year. Demand has been high in all business areas in recent months. However, it remains to be seen what consequences Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine will have in addition to China’s strict zero-covid strategy. „In the past, Ukraine and Russia were both sales and supplier areas. Here, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we no longer did any new business with Russia,“ Ramke reports. However, as a result of both political developments, prices for energy and raw materials are rising immensely. „This not only puts margins under increasing pressure, but the ever higher logistics costs are also a cause for concern,“ Ramke continues.

Despite the difficult global political conditions, the Oldenburg family-owned company continues to focus on an important topic of our time – sustainability. As early as 2021, BÜFA has already made emissions in its direct sphere of influence at its German sites climate-neutral through compensation measures. „It was clear that compensating would only be a first step,“ emphasizes Thalmann. To achieve climate neutrality and the transformation to a circular economy, he says BÜFA has set itself ambitious sustainability goals with new internal projects.

For one, BÜFA has started to evaluate products with the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF). The PCF measures a product’s contribution to climate change along its entire life cycle and creates transparency about the associated greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, a screening of the raw material portfolio in the Chemicals business unit was carried out, which uses internally defined criteria to show the impact on people and the environment. In addition, standards for products are also being defined for the Cleaning and Composites business units in order to better classify ecological aspects and support future industries with innovative product solutions.

On the other hand, BÜFA is increasingly using renewable energies. „We not only obtain electricity from renewable sources, we already generate electricity ourselves by installing a photovoltaic system at our BÜFA Reinigungssysteme site in Oldenburg,“ Thalmann describes. In addition to solar energy, there are also plans to make more intensive use of wind power in the future. For example, the Oldenburg-based chemical company is in concrete talks with farmer Christian Meyer-Hullmann about jointly operating an energy park in Rastede.   Another project is concerned with the responsible use of water as a resource. „Consequently, for BÜFA this means not only saving water and reducing wastewater, but also producing without wastewater at our sites,“ concludes Thalmann, giving a perspective on future sustainable production processes at BÜFA.