SBA furniture sector not halting development plans despite reduced sales

SBA furniture sector, the largest in the Baltic States, which spans five factories in Lithuania and one in Belarus, has reached 125.5 million euro in sales over the first half of this year. This is a 17 per cent reduction year on year when sales reached 150.8 million euros. Just over the second quarter this year, when a lockdown was declared due to the COVID19 pandemic and companies announced downtime, production valued at 57 million euros was sold, which is 20 million euros, or 25 per cent less, than the same period last year.

“As we predicted, the impact of the pandemic was marked on businesses across the globe, with economies plummeting by double digits in many countries, including our export markets, due to lockdown restrictions. However, the results of the summer months indicate that our companies are returning to a typical working rhythm and the impact of the pandemic on our annual results will be lighter than predicted at the beginning of the lockdown. Nevertheless, the rise in infections in Lithuania and the rest of the world is a cause for concern and so we hope for a rational attitude and well thought out decisions by the government, which would prevent businesses from coming to a halt,” SBA vice president Egidijus Valentinavičius says.

Over the first half of 2020, due to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, all of SBA’s furniture companies announced downtime, which lasted almost two months with brief production intermissions.

The largest sales this year were generated by Klaipėdos Baldai and Visagino Linija – respectively 32.7 million and 32 million euros or 22 and 21 per cent year on year. Germanika, which is based in Šilutė region, sold production for 20 million euros – 17 per cent less than a year ago. Šilutės Baldai production reached 16 million euros – 12 per cent less than over the first half of last year. The Belarus-based Mebelain saw the smallest decline in production the past six months among the companies managed by SBA Baldų Kompanija, at nine per cent, or 13.6 million euros. The soft furniture manufacturer Kauno Baldai sold production valued at nine million euros, which is a 13 per cent reduction year-on-year.

“The combination of the pandemic and worse results than last year have not halted our investments plan . Klaipėdos Baldai invested 4.3 million euros in development and new equipment over the first half of the year, another 1.5 million euros is to be invested in enhancing capacities by the end of the year. The construction of a new furniture prefab factory in Klaipėda region is proceeding rapidly – it should be operational in the autumn, with the combined investment to reach 15 million euros. Also, our commitments to our staff remain to review their wages this year and, of course, retain jobs,” 

Valentinavičius says.

According to Valentinavičius, the SBA furniture sector currently employs around 50 more staff in Lithuania than at the start of the year before the pandemic, reaching a total of 3,300 workers.

According to Valentinavičius, with the rise in coronavirus infections in Lithuania as of late, the company’s staff are encouraged to be responsible and watchful of their health. According to him, the staff at SBA’s furniture companies, among other benefits, are issued health insurance if they fall ill or due to lengthy wait times cannot gain access to their general practitioner, they can head to private treatment institutions, or make use of paid services.

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