OBERKOCHEN, Germany—The Zeiss Group reported solid financial results for the fiscal year 2019/20 ending Sept. 30, 2020, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenue totaled €6.297 billion versus €6.428 billion in the prior year. With a slight decline of 2 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, revenue almost reached last year's level. Around 90 percent of revenue was generated in markets outside Germany. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were also relatively high, reaching €922 million versus prior €1.063 billion a year ago.

The EBIT margin was 15 percent. Incoming orders increased to €6.814 billion compared with prior €6.575 billion in the prior year.

"On the whole, we were able to achieve a good business result for the Zeiss Group, thanks also to our broad portfolio and global positioning. We consider this an exceptional achievement by our employees—in unusual times," said Dr. Karl Lamprecht, president and CEO of Zeiss. "Our global crisis management, supported by resilience measures that had already been developed, helped us tackle the current challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as possible."

The four Zeiss segments developed differently in the prior fiscal year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the bright spots was the strong growth over prior year in its Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology segment. Significant investments in research and development paid off, the company said, adding that a clear recovery trend was evident in all Zeiss segments in the second half of the fiscal year.

In the Zeiss Medical Technology segment, the overall stable development of consumables, implants and services was able to limit a decline in revenue. Zeiss said that working closely with customers who showed an increased interest in telehealth and remote solutions as well as in utilizing digital forms of collaboration compensated in part for the temporary fall in demand.

The Consumer Markets segment, which includes the eyecare business, was strongly impacted by the pandemic in the spring, Zeiss said. The company noted that consumers were unable to visit opticians and optometrists due to the global lockdown. However, significant recovery effects were visible starting in the summer, according to Zeiss.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a discernible downturn in Zeiss’ revenue, particularly in the regions EMEA and Americas. Conversely, the APAC region was once again able to grow slightly. Zeiss' global positioning and especially the growth in Asian countries like China and South Korea contributed to stability.

"The company's performance shows that our measures to counter the effects of the pandemic have worked quite well. We were able to continue pursuing our long-term, global investment strategy, which comprises investments in innovations, digitalization and the expansion of infrastructure," said Dr. Christian Muller, chief financial officer of Carl Zeiss AG.

"In this fiscal year, too, we have once again increased our research and development spending—to €812 million. This is the equivalent of 13 percent of our entire revenue."