With our new facility, we sharpen our competitiveness and strengthen our position throughout Americas. The investment gives us better conditions to achieve our goals of delivering innovative products to our customers in this large and important market.
Improved efficiency and opportunities to better utilise our innovation power are the core of the investment. In addition, we will also gain focus on sustainability, increased customer value and better opportunities to both retain and attract the best associates. All in all, this contributes to the fact that we strengthen our position in the Americas as a leading actor within the security business.
We are investing in this programme now because we believe in our future – and a key part of that future is bringing new talent into the organisation. We want to recruit individuals who not only support and contribute to our business, but also have the skills to challenge us.
As an international, culturally diverse organisation, Gunnebo is a company where graduates can really bloom. Our hope is that the trainees will develop with us and become the future of the company while injecting us with energy and lots of new competence.
It is an innovative solution that resolves the everyday security concerns of people in their homes or during travel and at the same time provides an excellent way for companies to uphold their clean desk policy.
This divestment is in line with our strategic direction – to enhance Gunnebo’s long term growth through a focused offering, innovation and close partnership with our customers.
The financial effects of the pandemic have been palpable during the second quarter, and this has been mitigated with a clear cost focus and powerful measures. Gunnebo continues to show stability in the order book, and in the latter part of the quarter, orders- and sales levels were starting to recover. We are seeing a positive trend overall, from low levels, and provided there is no major new wave of the pandemic, we believe we have passed the low-point.
During the quarter, H-Sense and OccuLinq have been launched, demonstrating our internal power of innovation and increased focus on digital presence. As more societies gradually reopen, social distancing and flow control are likely to grow in importance. Our solutions are part of a smooth transition to the new reality faced by existing and new customers.
We foresee increased demand for occupancy control solutions as the retail sector adapts to the new normal created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Launched in mid-May, our H-Sense range has already been a genuine success, supporting customers by ensuring efficient infection control on their premises. OccuLinq now offers efficient and user-friendly occupancy control processes linked to the right of access, ensuring that social distancing measures are properly and safely enforced.
We are proud that this study confirms Gunnebo as a leading provider of smart cash management solutions. We continue to deliver great value to retailers, from cash process optimisation and transaction transparency to greater security and a better customer experience.
We foresee increased demand for access control solutions with a higher degree of connectivity and peripherals to meet specific needs created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our new H-Sense range provides efficient and user-friendly infection control processes linked to the right of access, ensuring that protective measures are properly and safely enforced.
Despite the downturn at the end of the quarter, the Group’s order intake and net sales were somewhat higher than in the corresponding quarter of the previous year, and Gunnebo’s order book increased by 8%, which is a sign of strength. The strong development in Entrance Control and Safe Storage could not fully offset reduced volumes and decreased margins in other business units and the negative effects of Covid-19, which affected profitability and EBITA. Proactive measures have been accelerated, as the impact of Covid-19 is expected to be significant in the second quarter due to the global market downturn and reduced demand.
At the time of writing, we are still facing great uncertainty. Covid-19 and its long-term effects on Gunnebo are still difficult to assess. Our direction remains unchanged and the planned change processes for a stronger Gunnebo are ongoing. At the same time, we see business opportunities in changing behavioural patterns in society, which may increase the demand for products and services in people flow management and safe storage.
We have now left 2019 behind, which was an eventful year for Gunnebo. The Business Unit structure was finalised, and our regional organisations were phased out. I also communicated the implementation of a smaller, more focused management team. The feedback from our customers on the new organisation has been positive, and employee surveys show increased engagement from our employees. We closed the acquisition of Cominfo and integrated the business into Entrance Control, launched a cost efficiency programme in July 2019 – which is now being realised according to plan and will take full effect from the second half of 2020 – and carried out a rights issue, which contributed MSEK 351 in the third quarter.
I am convinced that in 2020, Gunnebo will see positive effects of the change. I look forward to managing this change project together with the executive team and the group's employees, with our sights set on profitable growth.
Partnerskapet med Ferrimax visar att vi har ett bra tempo på implementeringen av vår strategi att etablera en partnerskapsmodell för försäljning och leverans på strategiska marknader i Europa.
We are delighted to partner with Loomis, a well-known specialist in creating efficient cash flow and handling of cash. Together, we are leveraging the experience of two industry leaders to provide existing and new retail customers a collaboration of the highest service levels combined with a world-class smart deposit solution.
With Gunnebo as our partner, we are able to expand our current portfolio of cash automation solutions and provide a compact, high-performance cash-handling option to retailers with low cash volumes.