This is a virtuous circle that unites humankind and nature with technology and the digital world. The path we have chosen to help build a sustainable future.
I am writing to you as Brembo’s Executive Chairman for the first time. A long-planned hand-off that occurred smoothly, with continuity in terms of values and strategies. Nonetheless, it was a strong emotion and I felt a great sense of responsibility when I accepted Alberto Bombassei’s invitation to take up his role. My gratitude goes out to him. With his gaze constantly fixed on the future and his untiring dedication, he has made Brembo a model of genuine Italian excellence. For all of us, Alberto Bombassei is an example from which to draw constant inspiration. In my role at the helm of the Company, I intend to maintain the focus on our customers, people and the communities in which we operate that has always set us apart.
Brembo delivered solid results in particularly challenging circumstances in 2021. Despite a market scenario shaped by the severe adverse impact of inflation on raw materials and the semiconductor shortage, the Company generated revenues in excess not only of 2020, but also of 2019, confirming its aptitude to create value. Notwithstanding the complexity of the global scenario and current geopolitical tensions, we can look to the current year with the knowledge that we embarked on a solid strategic journey, moving in the direction of constant innovation of our solutions, digitalisation and sustainable development.
In 2021, net consolidated revenues amounted to €2,777.6 million, up 25.8% compared to the previous year (+26.2% on a like-for-like exchange rate basis) and 7.2% compared to 2019. Following the acquisition of the Danish SBS Friction, effective 1 January 2021, and of the Spanish J.Juan, effective 1 November 2021, the consolidation scope changed. On a like-for-like consolidation basis, the increase was 24.5%. On a like-for-like exchange rate and consolidation basis, revenues rose by 25.0% compared to the previous year. Operating in 15 countries on three continents with 23 production sites, six commercial offices and seven research and development centres, at 31 December 2021 Brembo had a workforce of 12,225, 1,186 more than in the previous year, of whom 106 of SBS Friction and 570 of J.Juan. At geographical level, all the markets in which we operate grew in 2021 compared to the previous year. Sales increased by 31.1% in Italy, 24.6% in Germany, 15.1% in France and 17.7% in the United Kingdom. As far as non-EU countries are concerned, India rose by 28.2% (+32.4% on a like-for-like exchange rate basis), China by 28.8% (+25.2% on a like-forlike exchange rate basis), and Japan by +12.1% (+11.1% on a like-for-like exchange rate basis). South America grew by 22.0% (+31.2% on a like-for-like exchange rate basis) and North America (USA, Canada and Mexico) rose by 25.2% (+29.1% on a like-for-like exchange rate basis). As for the different market segments in which Brembo operates, car applications increased by 22.1%, motorbike applications by 55.2% (+42.6% on a like-for-like consolidation basis) and commercial vehicles by 26.3%, whereas the racing sector — where we continue to play a central role in the world’s most important championships each weekend — grew by 22.7%. The entire automotive industry is undergoing a process of rapid evolution and transformation. From vehicle electrification to their digitalisation, Brembo is a leader in research into artificial intelligence, advanced software and data analysis. This results in the creation of products that are increasingly less “metallic” and increasingly dense with electronics and IT content.
These are the foundations that led Brembo to develop its revolutionary intelligent braking system, Sensify: a cutting-edge solution that calibrates braking on each wheel, further increasing safety and reducing emissions. With its launch on the market planned in early 2024, Sensify is an extremely concrete application of artificial intelligence and digital technology. It is a breakthrough for brake systems, much like that of ABS in the 1990s, and will presumably become a solution of reference for the Company.
The new smart braking system Sensify, the opening of the first Brembo Inspiration Lab in California marked by an approach to innovation that looks to the future without limits and the acquisitions of SBS Friction and J.Juan, which round out the range of high-tech brake systems in the strategic two-wheel market, reflect Brembo’s position of global leadership. Thanks to an increasingly close integration between products and services, Brembo continues to pursue its mission to be a Solution Provider, in order to support its partners in rising to the challenges and grasping the opportunities presented by a rapidly transforming automotive industry. In a context in which artificial intelligence, advanced software and big data play a decisive role, we are also looking closely to the world of video games and e-sports — sectors in which to develop innovative solutions and win over new enthusiasts among the very young by positioning the Brembo brand in digital competitions. As every year, Brembo is once again publishing its Consolidated Disclosure of Non-Financial Information. The document illustrates in detail Brembo’s business model, its strategies and policies, as well as the actions implemented and the results achieved, in pursuing its sustainable economic growth, while taking account of the expectations of the stakeholders involved and seeking constant improvement of the environmental and social impacts of its activities. Brembo reiterates its commitment to the environment by setting highly concrete goals — first of all, achieving carbon neutrality by 2040. This is an ambitious challenge to which for many years the Company has been committed in various areas, particulalry in the reduction of emissions and the responsible management of natural and energy resources.
The first months of 2022 were more than positive in terms of volumes and full utilisation of production capacity. We are also paying close attention to the developments of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The direct impact on Brembo is modest, as it has no production sites in the area and the exposure to local customers is limited, nonetheless we are closely monitoring commodity supplies and production costs.
Building on our skills and sustained by the values that have been supporting us daily for over 60 years, we are convinced that we can continue to lead the technological transformation for which the automotive industry is preparing. We can’t but look with confidence to the increasingly green and connected future that awaits us.
The Executive Chairman