“Last year steeled us, and we focused and adapted our manufacturing to pandemic conditions. Because of this we began this year with momentum and aim to maintain it. The pandemic remains the core factor, which will decide furniture demand this year as well. In a number of our Western European markets, quarantines and strict trade restrictions are still in place. Vaccinations are gaining pace but only gradually. Challenges introduced by supply chain disruptions also contribute to this. All this could slow down recovery and make it more distant, but we hope that even more capacities will be devoted to combatting the pandemic, the vaccination will gain momentum, and in the second half of the year there will be far more optimism,” SBA Vice President Egidijus Valentinavičius says.
According to him, the SBA furniture sector’s companies are recording fairly different results this year due to diverse product specifications and demand for these products in key markets.
Germanika, based in Šilutė, sold products worth 13 million euros during the first quarter of this year, which is a third more than last year. After completing an expansion project, the Belarus-based Mebelain similarly saw sales increase by a third, reaching 9.6 million euros. Šilutės Baldai reached 9 million euros in sales in Q1 2021, which is a 2% increase compared to the year before. Klaipėdos Baldai sold products valued at a combined 16.5 million euros this year, which is 13% less than the same period last year. Visagino Linija’s sales, which reached 16.7 million euros, were 4% lower. Other than these companies, which are managed by SBA Home, the SBA Group’s furniture manufacturing sector also includes the soft furniture manufacturer Kauno Baldai, which saw a sales increase of 25% this year, reaching 6.6 million euros.
“We are able to successfully expand our production, but our sales are limited by a deficit in shipping containers, which we use to export our products to America and Asia. Another challenge is rising commodity prices. We are managing our risks and actively seeking alternatives. However, despite these global disruptions, we are looking forward and intend to continue implementing our companies’ strategic development,” says Raimonda Kižienė, the head of SBA Home, which manages six furniture manufacturing companies in Lithuania and Belarus.
According to her, the SBA furniture manufacturing companies focus on operational efficiency and increasing product quality, and this is not directly impacted by the effort to contain coronavirus. Thus, attention to staff safety and the accelerating vaccination of large companies’ workers will help reach these goals faster. In a recent survey, most SBA company staff answered that they wish to be vaccinated against the coronavirus so that they could protect themselves and their relatives, as well as help the quarantine restrictions be lifted sooner. Vaccination is organised in companies so that people can rest after the procedure.
Other than Kauno Baldai, the SBA furniture manufacturing sector includes SBA Home, which manages the furniture manufacturing companies Klaipėdos Baldai, Šilutės Baldai, Germanika, Visagino Linija, Mebelain and Laminn. Other than furniture manufacturing, the SBA Group also operates in the real estate and textile sectors. The group’s companies employ around 5,000 staff members.
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