Update on the Covid-19 situation
Dear friends, a full year of Corona has touched all of us. As a company of 1,500 employees, we are of course affected by outbreaks ourselves, and currently have four positive COVID-19 cases within our workforce. Since the start of the Corona pandemic, 60 of our employees have tested positive and recovered. Of these, five people were taken seriously ill, but all have fortunately recovered. In November 2020, we had a spike in infections and had to close the entire carpentry workshop for almost the entire month. In December, the situation calmed down again and the sickness rate was even lower than in December 2019 at 3.7%.
On the positive side, the market is growing dynamically. Boats are enjoying greater popularity than at any time in the past 15 years. All brands and all sizes are at their peaks. On 31 December, we were able to report a record EUR 153.6 million order book for sailing yachts, motor yachts and catamarans - up 64% compared to the previous year. Particularly pleasing is the very high number of pre-orders for the Dehler 38 SQ, Fjord 41 XL and Privilège 580 models, and delivery times are increasing accordingly. Our dealers worldwide have achieved these strong order levels despite attending almost no boat shows. To this end, we have thoroughly digitalized the sales process. Trade fairs are very expensive, and we hope to be able to reduce expenditure in this area even after the pandemic, although we will certainly still show our innovations at the key shows.
Our liquidity position is also very positive: as of 31 December 2020, we had credit balances at banks of EUR 21.8 million (previous year: EUR 3.6 million). This safety cushion is important for us and our employees in such turbulent times, and creates order on the financial side. But it is also important for new orders, because customers have to wait longer for their boat and entrust us with their deposits for longer. Our strong finances help dealers worldwide to convince customers of our secure position.
The impact on our production lines is currently challenging - similar to autumn 2020. Just as the Corona outbreak in our own ranks resulted in a shortage of interior joinery the following month, it is also affecting our suppliers - repeatedly and suddenly. In addition, borders are shut and the flow of goods delayed. This week, for example, the border between Germany and France was partially closed, and the border with Austria has been closed for weeks. At the moment, we are missing bow-thrusters from Italy and windows from England, as well as rudder and air conditioning systems, exhaust pipes and upholstery. For affected sailboats, this means a delayed delivery of up to four weeks for 41 feet and 8 weeks for 58 feet. The situation with the motorboats is uneven: many are completed on time, but some are already two months late, because Volvo is having problems delivering 4- and 6-cylinder engines from Sweden.
Our liquidity position allows us to respond by recruiting extra employees. We are currently looking for 33 additional team members in Germany, 28 in Poland and 15 in France. With more manpower we will try to make up the delays by the summer. We also very much hope that we will be able to start our new financial year on 1 July in a post-pandemic world, with lower trade-fair costs, a full order book and hardly any delivery problems!
With this round-up of our latest news, we wish you farewell until next time.
Stay healthy and see you on the water!
From the team at HanseYachts AG,
Dr. Jens Gerhardt and Sven Göbel