Demand for Sensirion’s sensor solutions was robust in 2020, with ramp-ups of new product families of carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) sensors and market diversification driving growth. Because of COVID-19, Sensirion recorded a one-time strong increase in demand for sensors for ventilators.
The financial numbers were strong: Consolidated revenue amounted to CHF 253.7 million, up 48%. Of this amount, CHF 77.0 million (prior-year period CHF 7.0 million) came from gas flow sensors for ventilators.
Gross margin was 57.6%, resulting in an adjusted EBITDA margin of 27.1%. In the mid and long term, Sensirion is confident that its new product families will support further growth.
The automotive business recorded revenue growth of 7.5% to CHF 55.2 million. The successful sales launch of the PM2.5 sensor represents an important milestone in Sensirion’s goal to become a leading module and tier 1 supplier in the automotive market.
In 2020, the medical market was influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenue grew by 219.7% to CHF 112.3 million. This increase is primarily a result of higher sales of gas flow sensors for ventilators, resulting in revenue of CHF 77.0 million (previous year CHF 7.0 million).
Shortly after the pandemic outbreak in spring, the demand for sensors for ventilators multiplied within weeks. A dedicated task force worked at full stretch to increase production capacity more than tenfold in record time. The peak in sensor shipments for ventilators occurred in the second and third quarters. Sensirion expects demand to normalize during the first quarter of 2021.
In addition to the CO2 and PM2.5 sensor families, Sensirion successfully started the production of a novel formaldehyde sensor at the end of the year. Sensirion’s new sensor shows a lower cross-sensitivity to other gases that are often found indoors. It is the first sensor that is based on the electrochemical sensor technology Sensirion acquired in summer 2019.
In recent months, Sensirion has concluded several longer-term technology acquisitions and investments to secure the company’s longer-term growth potential.
In February 2021, Sensirion finalized the acquisition of the Dutch micro gas chromatography company Qmicro in Enschede, the Netherlands. The acquisition will allow Sensirion to expand its portfolio of gas sensor solutions to the high-precision sector.
Sensirion also invested in two start-ups in Switzerland: Lumiphase develops new optical, CMOS-compatible photonic technology using new materials. MaxWell Biosystems, a Zurich-based ETH start-up, develops single-use sensing chips for cell characterization in drug development.
Sensirion expects full-year 2021 consolidated revenue of CHF 226-245 million (FY 2020 CHF 253.7 million), of which approximately CHF 15 million (FY 2020 CHF 70 million) still comes from the COVID-19-driven ventilator sensor business. Adjusted for the one-off ventilator business, a strong sales growth of 15% to 25% results. Sensirion expects the gross margin to remain stable at 52-55% and the EBITDA margin at 18-22%.