Lantal Stands Firm Amid Adversities
Business in 2015 affected by volatile market and strong Swiss franc
Langenthal, March 21, 2016 – In 2015, consolidated sales generated by Lantal Textiles Ltd declined to CHF 96.7 million from CHF 101.8 million in the prior year. As was the case for all Swiss textile companies and export-oriented businesses, the abandonment of the euro exchange rate floor also imposed significant challenges on Lantal, which relies on exports for 94% of its revenues. Nonetheless, 2015 was a good year, given the circumstances. The future outlook still justifies optimism in view of the group’s global presence and customer proximity.
This year, Lantal is celebrating its 130th anniversary. It all began in 1886 with linen fabrics for Emmental cheesemakers and was followed by 130 years of ongoing renewal and innovation. In 1954, Lantal sold the first seat covers to KLM, the Dutch national airline, securing an entry-level position in the aviation sector. Thanks to close collaboration with Boeing and Nasa, the company was able to accrue extensive know-how in the development of flameretardant textiles. In 1956, Lantal began to service the railway and bus industries. This year marks the company’s 60th anniversary in the ground transportation market. The newly defined Executive sector was proactively opened up in 2014. In its marketing initiative for highend products such as hand-tufted carpets, for example, Lantal can tap into synergies between the Business Jet and Superyacht sectors.
Lantal owes its current status as one of the world’s leading providers of all-in-one solutions for passenger transportation interiors to long-standing partnerships and ongoing refinements. The markets are still very demanding, and customer attitudes have changed considerably since the financial crisis. Despite these constraints, Lantal generated CHF 96.7 million in consolidated sales during the year in review, which represents a 5% decline from the strong prior year. In spite of the adversities, the number of jobs remained constant and last year, five additional apprenticeships were created. As at the end of 2015, the internationally active company employed 376 persons in full-time jobs as well as 19 apprentices in Switzerland, France, the USA, and Singapore. Lantal continues to great emphasis on promoting fresh talent and for this reason trains apprentices in five different occupations.
Revenues with products and services in the Aircraft market declined by 4.9% versus the prior year, closing at CHF 72.7 million. Swiss International Air Lines equipped the Business Class seats of its nine new Boeing B777-300 ER jets with Lantal’s Pneumatic Comfort System (PCS). Six years ago, SWISS was already a launch customer of this pivotal Lantal innovation. Sales in the Ground segment (Bus, Train, and Tram) closed at CHF 13.9 million, a
decline of 2.1% versus the prior year. Reassuring growth was posted in the Bus sector. However, public transportation and tour bus interior project tenders remain aggressively competitive and very price-sensitive. In response to this situation, Lantal continues to invest in the development of new velvet and flat-weave qualities that are introduced in the marketplace on a step-by-step basis.
Collaboration Lantal PCS and Solar Impulse 2
Lantal’s Pneumatic Comfort System has been embraced not only by the commercial aviation market. We also support Bertrand Piccard’s Solar Impulse project as an official supplier. Lantal is actively contributing to the attainment of the project’s ambitious goals with its Pneumatic Comfort System for the cockpit and its extensive experience in the domain of ergonomics. “With the lightest possible material, the highest attainable level of comfort, and sustainable new technologies, the Pneumatic Comfort System perfectly matches the requirements and philosophy of the promising and forward-looking Solar Impulse project,” said Urs Rickenbacher, CEO of Lantal Textiles Ltd.
Lantal targets sustainable high-growth markets
Lantal is more systematically and actively investing in strategically important growth markets. Accordingly, a strong focus is on Europe, America, and Asia-Pacific. Switzerland is still the nerve center as regards the strategic management of global business activities. By concentrating on high-growth regions, Lantal has further internationalized its market approach. Recent steps designed to evolve customer orientation and proximity included the establishment of so-called Sales Hubs in the USA for the American market and in Singapore for the Asian market. The Swiss SME has globally positioned itself in such a way that it can circumvent or minimize the impact of exogenous factors like currency fluctuations.
Coherent all-in-one solutions
To support customers with efficient and time-saving solutions, Lantal is further escalating its transformation from a yardage supplier to a provider of all-in-one interiors with Parts & Services innovations. The company has also further broadened its competence in preassembled elements such as literature pockets, headrest components, and ready-to-fit seat covers. Increased sales versus the prior year confirm that these all-in-one solutions are in great demand
across all markets. Due to its status as a Production Organization (POA) and a Design Organization (DOA), and thanks to its accredited in-house test laboratory, Lantal has the ability and the credentials to pursue the development of such comprehensive solutions.
Innovation in all domains
In general, expectations are that pressure on prices will continue to intensify for all deliverables. This is due on the one hand to the exchange rate advantage that competitors can leverage and on the other to the fact that price is more and more often being prioritized over quality. Lantal’s approach to dealing with these hindrances is to recognize customer and market needs as early as possible. Innovation, qualified staff members, and benchmark flexibility
are precious resources that allow Lantal to meet these needs. For Lantal, the only fitting response to the strong Swiss franc is to redouble its focus on innovation in all of its activities. New and cost-effective products are regularly premiered at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. Currently, work is progressing on a “ceiling sail” and a “Light in Textiles” project for cabins. Additionally, Lantal is close to a launch of even lighter and more comfortable carpets
as well as seat covers.
However, Lantal not only relies on tradition and innovation in product development but also embraces latest-generation technologies in marketing. To commemorate its 130th anniversary, the Swiss company updated its online presence with a state-of-the-art website (www.lantal.com) featuring a responsive design that lets visitors quickly and easily find the content they want to see. Moreover, customers are provided with exclusive apps that allow them to independently configure their interiors with 3D realism. Lantal customer advisors work with virtual reality headsets, for instance to better illustrate the advantages of Lantal’s Pneumatic Comfort System or to more impressively visualize the latest collections with virtual interior walkthroughs.
Lantal is a leader in the design, production, and distribution of textiles, parts, and services for the international community of aircraft, bus, and railway operators. The company offers forward-looking counsel with the objective of achieving the ultimate in passenger well-being.
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