In the year of its 50th anniversary the Fielmann Group has, for the first time, passed the threshold of €2 billion in external sales according to preliminary figures. The year 2022 was shaped by a protracted Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and, as a result, soaring inflation rates together with the lowest consumer confidence level on record in nearly all of our markets. In this economic environment, Group sales are expected to have grown by +5% over the previous year – in line with our Vision 2025 as well as our adjusted full-year forecast.
In 2022, the Fielmann Group gained market shares in all major countries. In Germany our anticyclical price reductions allowed us to attract new customers and significantly grow our volume market share. In Eastern and Southern Europe most markets expanded their sales at double digits over last year, with market shares increasing at a similar rate.
Preliminary financials for FY2022
In 2022 the Fielmann Group generated external sales of around €2.03 billion (incl. VAT and inventory changes), a 5% increase over the previous year (€1.94 billion). Consolidated sales rose to €1.76 billion (+5%, previous year: €1.68 billion). Central European markets delivered robust single-digit to double-digit growth. The Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain all grew at double digits over the previous year. Altogether, our international markets are expected to have reached net sales of €506 million, an 11% increase over the previous year (€455 million).
Among our product categories, sunglasses and contact lenses developed particularly favourably, with growth rates of +32% and +23% respectively compared to previous year. Prescription eyewear and hearing aids saw solid to strong single-digit growth rates. Of the 968 stores (previous year: 913) that the Fielmann Group operated at year end, 352 included hearing-aid studios (previous year: 312) and dispensed more than 100,000 hearing aids in 2022. Of the 22,631 people who contributed to our family business (previous year: 22,028), 1,166 worked in our hearing-aid business (previous year: 1,128).
FY2022 EBITDA is expected to stand at approximately €339.8 million (–14.2%, previous year: €396.1 million), while EBT amounts to approximately €160.7 million (–23.4%, previous year: €209.7 million) and net income to about €110.0 million (–23.9%, previous year: €144.6 million).
While the FY2022 sales growth is in line with our Vision 2025, the Management Board is now focusing on the bottom line. As announced at the Annual General Meeting in July 2022, a Cost Leadership Program has been launched in order to reduce structural costs in our head offices and central service functions. As the price leader, the Fielmann Group has to be the cost leader as well. The program lays the foundation for our future success and will enhance our profitability in the medium term. We will provide additional details during our Annual Press Conference in April 2023.
Adjusted dividend policy to accelerate strategic investments
To sustain our accelerated rate of investment and seize additional acquisition opportunities, the Management Board and Supervisory Board are going to recommend a dividend for the 2022 financial year of €0.75 per share (previous year: €1.50) to the Annual General Meeting on 13 July 2023. Based on our year-end share price, the dividend yield amounts to 2.0%. The total dividend payout equates to €63 million (previous year: €126 million) and corresponds to a payout ratio of 60% (previous year: 92%). The retained funds are earmarked to be used for additional strategic investments in the short term.
While the war in Ukraine is impacting our Group directly and indirectly, our position as price leader has allowed us to gain market shares across all major markets in the last few months. Our focus now lies on retaining our new and existing customers through excellent service while sustaining our price leadership by means of cost leadership.
In line with our Vision 2025, our investments in digitalisation and internationalisation will continue to deliver double-digit growth rates in our digital sales channels as we roll out our omnichannel platform internationally. Our international markets will continue to contribute substantially to our growth. With our recent acquisition in the Basque Country, we are expecting significant doubledigit sales growth in Spain in 2023 and to be market leader in the medium term.
Further acquisitions promise additional growth potential within our existing markets and beyond. The Fielmann Group is following its purpose internationally: To help everyone hear and see the beauty in the world.
A consolidated guidance at Fielmann Group level including the newly acquired Spanish subsidiaries as well as the effects of our cost-saving measures will be reviewed by our Supervisory Board in April and published subsequently, as part of our Annual Report.
Hamburg, 23 February 2023
Fielmann Group (Fielmann Aktiengesellschaft)
The Management Board