Growth despite the Covid pandemic
Daikin Europe Group is active in the air conditioning, heating, ventilation and refrigeration business for the European, Middle East and African territory. In the financial year (April-March) 2020, the Group’s turnover reached 3,45 billion Euro, a 2,2% growth compared to the year before.
Due to the Covid lockdowns, Daikin experienced difficulties in the different commercial market segment, especially hotels and restaurants, retail and offices. Premises were closed and projects stalled all over EMEA. However there was a strong demand for HVAC solutions in residential applications, and green home renovations with heat pumps replacing traditional boilers. Even in Italy, that was hit hard by the Covid crisis, Daikin managed to achieve positive growth, partly attributed to government incentives to promote heat pumps. Particular good results were noted in the Benelux, France and Germany.
Faced with the Covid crisis, Daikin Europe and its large network of subsidiaries demonstrated its capacity to adapt. Thanks to its large local production base – 85% of the sales for Europe is produced in Europe – Daikin was able to shift production capacity and make sure supply could meet demand. Factories’ work stations were quickly adapted to maintain production in a safe way. For the Ostend plant, this meant that production was interrupted for only two days, before reopening in a safe way. Daikin’s factory in the severely hit Lombardian region in Italy had to close only during the government enforced 10 working days, after which it kept Covid fully out of the workplace.
In 2020, also Daikin’s network of commercial equipment installers was swiftly redeployed to residential installation work, creating more capacity of installation than in normal years for the residential segment.
Following concerns for indoor air quality with the general public, Daikin Europe saw a very strong increase in sales of air purifiers. Worries about the HVAC systems spreading corona were quickly debunked and did not impact our market. Knowing that good HVAC systems are part of the solution to create healthier indoor air quality in public spaces, Daikin expects further market growth in this segment.
Ambitions for the future are high
While the residential segment is expected to remain strong, even after the Covid pandemic, Daikin will look to develop its strengths as a provider of total air solutions. This is true for all segments in the building industry, from individual homes to district heating networks.
After years of accelerated investments in its R&D function, Daikin Europe is now planning a major leap forward with a large investment in its R&D centre in Belgium. The aim is to grow the number of R&D engineers from 220 today to 380 in 2025. Daikin Europe is to become Daikin Industries’ global centre of expertise for low carbon heating solutions, with a big focus on heat pump technology. 2021 marks the start of the construction works for Daikin’s new R&D centre in Ghent. As of end 2023 it will house the full R&D centre.
Daikin Europe’s EMEA HQ and its Belgian sales company will have 111 new positions to fill in 2021 to support the growth ambitions in all its business pillars. These jobs are not only in R&D, but also in business development and supporting functions such as Supply chain, HR and IT. It shows our confidence and commitment to Belgium as a basis for the future expansion of the group.
This morning Daikin Industries Ltd. announced the group’s annual results in Japan. Along with the results, it was announced that 3 key members of the EMEA Group’s Board of Directors will change roles.
At the end of June 2021, Mr Frans Hoorelbeke, Director since 1991 and Chairman, will lay down both roles and become Honorable Senior Advisor for Daikin. At the same time, Mr Masatsugu Minaka, currently President of Daikin Europe N.V., will assume the role of Chairman of the Board. Finally, Mr Toshitaka Tsubouchi, current Vice President Sales at Daikin Europe N.V., will become Daikin Europe’s new President.