Preliminary figures for the financial year 2021 document the successful recovery of the Fielmann Group despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic: Thanks to the loyalty of our customers and the dedication of our teams, we not only generated the highest sales in company history but also exceeded our pre-crisis sales by double-digits. Our profitability in 2021 was affected by significant investments and one-off effects in the second half of the year.
Preliminary financials for FY2021
In 2021 the Fielmann Group generated external sales of € 1.94 billion (incl. VAT and inventory changes), a 19% increase over last year and 10% over the pre-crisis level of 2019. Consolidated sales rose to € 1.68 billion (+17%, previous year: € 1.43 billion). All major markets grew by double digits over last year and, with the exception of Austria, they all exceeded the pre-crisis levels of 2019 as well. As the Fielmann Group continues to internationalise its business, our international markets continued to outperform, reaching net sales of € 455 million, a 53% increase over the previous year (€ 297 million) and 41% over the pre-crisis level of 2019 (€ 323 million).
Among our product categories, our hearing aid business developed particularly favourable, reaching net sales of € 93 million (previous year: € 80,7 million). Of the 913 stores (previous year: 870) that the Fielmann Group operated at year-end, 312 contained hearing studios (previous year: 280). Of the 22,028 people that contribute to our family business (previous year: 21,853), 1,128 work in our hearing aid business (previous year: 982).
FY2021 earnings before tax are expected to stand at approximately € 210 million (+20%, previous year: € 175.5 million) and the net income for the year will reach about € 145 million (+20%, previous year: € 120.8 million). The earnings are impacted by significant investments: Most of our new store openings occurred in Q3 and Q4/2021 (30 of 45 in total). Additionally, the adjusted delimitation of research, development and operating expenses of our software development lead to one-time write-offs and other costs of about € 15 million in Q4/2021.
Dividend to be increased by 25%
Fielmann is maintaining its long-standing, shareholder-friendly dividend policy. Considering the company's positive development as well as the available liquidity, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board are going to recommend a dividend for the 2021 financial year of € 1.50 per share (+25%, previous year: € 1.20) to the Annual General Meeting on 14 July 2022. Based on our year-end share price, the dividend yield amounts to 2.5%. The total dividend pay-out equates to € 126.0 million (previous year: € 100.8 million).
Outlook: Double-digit sales growth in 2022
As part of our planning, we have earmarked significant investments to further internationalise and digitise our Group in line with our Vision 2025. While the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect our business in most markets, we expect a normalisation during the course of HY1/2022 leading to double-digit sales growth. The Fielmann Group is going to enter at least one new market this year.
Hamburg, 24 February 2022
The Management Board