R&M, the globally active developer and provider of cabling systems for high-quality network infrastructures, based in Wetzikon, Switzerland, is continuing its growth strategy: R&M closed the business year 2019 with an increase of 4.4 %; adjusted for currency effects, growth lies at 6.8%. The Group generated sales of CHF 276.7 million. The operating profit (EBIT) declined marginally due to high investment costs for the integration of newly acquired companies and for the expansion of the market organizations. Worldwide R&M now has 1,300 employees.
«For five years now, R&M has witnessed continuous, solid growth. In 2019, we were once again above the industry average. We do, however, currently find ourselves in a challenging market environment. Particularly the investments for the expansion of the global FTTH networks fell in 2019,» reports CEO Michel Riva.
With the takeover of Optimum Fiberoptics, Inc. in Maryland, R&M entered the economic center in the East of the USA in March 2019. Mega data centers, company headquarters, and government agencies are all situated close together here. The US branches of R&M in California and Maryland serve the North American continent with proprietary products, logistics, and services.
One month later in Shanghai, R&M then acquired Durack Intelligent Electric Co. Ltd., a manufacturer of network cabinets for data centers. This acquisition has given R&M access to significant Chinese market sectors, such as finance, government, education and data centers. At the same time, R&M is investing outside Shanghai in a new production site for the assembly of fiber optic and copper cable systems.
In the sales regions, development in the financial year was very varied. In South America and the Middle East, R&M achieved double-digit growth rates. In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, sales initially declined, although the situation stabilized towards year-end. The other European markets offset this decline. The trade war between China and the US as well as a crisis on the Indian telecoms market impaired business in these regions. The sales company in India nevertheless posted a single-digit increase.
In 2019, the R&M business area Public Networks benefited from various key projects in broadband cabling to the front door (Fiber to the Home). Double-digit growth rates were recorded here – despite the declining market environment. With the new FO distribution frame PRIME-ODF, R&M gave telecoms the possibility to plan network expansion more freely than was previously the case. These can now retrofit and densify their sites more easily and only have to invest as much in cabling as is currently required.
The Data Center business area had to struggle with a slowdown of the market. With the range of its new subsidiary Durack in China, R&M can now act as an all-in-one provider for network equipment for data centers in Asia. And alongside a new fiber optic distributor, R&M introduced a software product developed in house for the first time. It helps data center operators to manage their networks digitally.
The largest business area, the Local Area Networks segment, achieved solid single-digit growth. Here too, R&M is relying on new developments and premium products for fast data transmission to offices and smart buildings.
R&M expects the market environment to remain very challenging in 2020. The most recent investments and product innovations are intended to make a decisive contribution to continuing the growth strategy. «Thanks to the innovative strength of the company, R&M now covers the entire connectivity range,» concludes CEO Michel Riva.