It is time to sum up the year 2019 and look forward towards world after COVID-19.
Today, in May 2020, the world is totally different than couple months ago. For Teknos, year 2019 was the first year when strategy 2019-2025 was implemented. Last year started with introducing Teknos strategy to whole personnel. The consistent work to achieve the strategic goals started intensively. Of our five strategic initiatives, balance, customer experience, continuous improvement culture, sustainability and innovations, the specific focus was in implementation of the continuous improvement culture by using Kaizen and investing in training our personnel.
In 2019 we also focused strongly on sustainability, and that work still need to continue. Our waste generation and energy consumption were reduced. We can still improve our waste amounts and look how to make our operations to be more energy efficient. We managed to reduce lost time accident rate among our employees, but we need to put even more focus on employee safety.
We made two acquisitions: Finnproduct in Czech as well as Drywood Norway. We also built a new facility in the UK and started the building of our new factory in the USA. We closed our representative office in Belarus.
Our target was to grow profitably, and despite the decline in the European market we managed to improve our profitability, which was helped by decreasing raw material prices. However, we were unable to grow last year our net sales. Teknos Group net sales decreased and was MEUR 398 (408) in 2019. EBITDA was MEUR 27 (25) in 2019. At the end of 2019 Teknos employed approximately 1800 (1700) people in three continents and 22 countries.
At the moment, it is hard to see very far into the future. Many of us feel uncertainty in this situation as social, economic and political environment are continuously changing. The biggest question is: When are we able to go to the Next Normal? We are building the company towards our vision: to be sustainable coating solutions provider close to customers. This requires faith in the vision, strong leadership, fast reaction to the changing environment and tough decisions. Together with all our stakeholders we will succeed in our chosen path.
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