Sonova Holding AG announced its results for the 2020/21 financial year. According to the company, its sales declined by 6.8% in local currencies or 10.8% in Swiss francs to CHF 2,602 million (USD $2.9 million). Sonova says that “a sharp dip in activity in April 2020 was followed by a swift recovery, reflecting the market’s strong fundamentals, the successful launch of the Phonak Paradise platform, and Sonova’s strategic growth initiatives.” All three businesses returned to growth in the second half of the financial year, with sales up 6.6% in local currencies. Adjusted EBITA for the year reached CHF 603.0 million (USD $671.2 million), up 5.6% in local currencies but down 2.9% in Swiss francs. This was driven by a strong profitability in the second half of the financial year, with adjusted EBITA rising 33.6% in local currencies.

Related article: Sonova to Acquire Sennheiser Consumer Division

Given Sonova’s “strong cash and balance sheet position,” the Board of Directors will propose a dividend of CHF 3.20 (USD $3.57) per share to the Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting. In addition, the Board of Directors has approved a new share buyback program, valued at up to CHF 700 million (USD $780 million) for the 2021/22 financial year. The Group is confident that the strong recovery will persist and therefore expects consolidated sales to increase by 24%-28% and adjusted EBITA to grow in the range of 34%-42% in 2021/22, both measured at constant exchange rates.


  • Group sales of CHF 2,602 million (USD $2.9 million) –down 6.8% in local currencies and 10.8% in Swiss francs
  • Adjusted EBITA of CHF 603.0 million (USD $671.2 million) – up 5.6% in local currencies and down 2.9% in Swiss francs
  • Return to growth in 2H 2020/21 – sales up 6.6% and adj. EBITA up 33.6%, both in local currencies
  • Adjusted EPS of CHF 7.71 (USD $8.6) – up 15.5% in local currencies
  • Operating free cash flow reached CHF 602.4 million (USD $671 million) – strong cash conversion of 100%
  • Proposed dividend of CHF 3.20 per share (USD $3.57) – payout ratio of 42%
  • Initiating share buyback program valued at up to CHF 700 million (USD $780 million) for the financial year 2021/22
  • Outlook for FY 2021/22 – sales growth of 24%-28%; growth in adjusted EBITA of 34%-42%, both at constant exchange rates

Arnd Kaldowski, CEO of Sonova, said: “Sonova has successfully navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have sustained our positive momentum, outpaced the market, and achieved strong sales and earnings growth in the second half-year. This was supported by both the focused execution of our growth strategy and the benefits of our structural optimization initiatives. I would like to especially thank our employees, who have worked tirelessly to support our customers, to innovate and expand our solutions, and to improve our processes despite the challenges throughout the year. We are confident in a strong recovery and we are in an excellent position to continue to outperform the market.“

Strong sales recovery in the second half-year

In the 2020/21 financial year, Sonova Group sales reached CHF 2,601.9 million (USD $2.9 million). The impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic on the hearing care industry – including restrictions on personal movement, consumer activity, and elective surgeries – resulted in a decline in sales of 6.8% in local currencies or 10.8% in Swiss francs, Sonova says. Organic growth was negative at 7.1%, while acquisitions contributed 0.3% to growth. Sales momentum picked up strongly in the second quarter and the Group returned to growth in the second half- year. Exchange rate fluctuations had a significant negative impact, reducing growth by 4.0% due to a strengthening of the Swiss franc against most major currencies.

Business momentum continued to improve throughout the year, with all regions returning to growth in the second half. The recovery was supported by the successful launch of the Phonak Paradise platform in the hearing instruments business in August 2020 and good momentum from the Group’s commercial excellence initiatives, according to Sonova. The successful launch of two new sound processors – the Naída CI Marvel for adults and the Sky CI Marvel for children – lifted sales at Advanced Bionics towards the end of the financial year, the company said. The Asia/Pacific (APAC) region experienced the strongest recovery with sales up 3.7% in local currencies. Several key markets in the region reported double digit sales growth year-over-year with particularly strong sales development in China.

Sales in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), the Group’s largest region, declined by 6.0% in local currencies but several key markets achieved positive year-over-year growth. A solid recovery in the hearing instruments business was driven by France, Germany, the Nordics, and Switzerland, which all achieved full-year sales above prior year levels, Sonova said. A similar trend was observed in the audiological care business but performance was held back by strict lockdown measures in the UK and a slowdown in Germany in the second half-year. Sales in the cochlear implants business were supported by upgrade sales. The EMEA share of Group sales increased from 53% in 2019/20 to 54% in 2020/21.

Sales in the United States declined by 10.8% in local currency. After slow recovery in the first half-year, the market returned to prior year levels in the second half, led by growth in the commercial channel. Growth in the cochlear implants business was held back by the reduced number of elective surgeries but momentum significantly improved after the successful market introduction of the Naída CI Marvel and Sky CIT Marvel sound processors. The region accounted for 28% of Group sales in 2020/21 versus 30% in the prior year. Sales in the rest of the Americas (excluding the US) were down 9.7% in local currencies, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has persisted longer than in many of the larger markets, according to Sonova.

Hearing Instruments segment – Market share gains in both businesses

Sales in the hearing instruments segment declined by 6.1% in local currencies to CHF 2,417.3 million (USD $2.7 million). This was due to the “significant market contraction at the start of the financial year related to the global COVID- 19 pandemic,” according to Sonova. Driven by a market rebound as lock-down restrictions were lifted, the segment returned to growth in the second half. Regional recovery varied, reflecting increased infection rates in certain markets. Sonova says that momentum was further boosted by the successful launch of the Phonak Paradise platform in August 2020. The segment recorded an organic sales decline of 6.4% while the contribution from acquisitions in the reporting period (including the full-year effect of prior year acquisitions) lifted sales by 0.3%. Exchange rate fluctuations reduced growth by 3.9% in Swiss francs. This resulted in a reported sales decline of 10.0%.

The hearing instruments business posted sales of CHF 1,463.9 million (USD $1.6 million), a decline of 4.7% in local currencies. Strong customer response to the new Phonak Paradise platform and the market recovery turned sales development positive in the second half, according to Sonova’s report. In March 2021, Sonova’s share of business with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reached its highest level, 56%, in over seven years. ASP temporarily benefitted from a favorable shift in the country and channel mix: higher price markets and channels rebounded faster from the effects of the pandemic.

Momentum in the audiological care business picked up over the course of the financial year, reflecting the gradual easing of pandemic related restrictions and increased marketing activities. Sales decreased by 8.1% in local currencies to CHF 953.5 million; the development was driven by negative organic growth of 8.7%. The pandemic temporarily depressed M&A activity, resulting in a contribution from acquisitions of 0.6%. Structural optimization initiatives included streamlining the store network: combining certain store locations to improve efficiency while protecting sales.

Reported EBITA for the hearing instruments segment amounted to CHF 580.6 million (USD $647 million), up 5.4% in local currencies. The structural optimization initiatives announced in July 2020 progressed according to plan. Restructuring costs related to these initiatives amounted to CHF 36.5 million (USD $40.72) (2019/20: CHF 18.6 million{USD $20.73 million]). Excluding these restructuring costs, the adjusted EBITA increased by 8.3% in local currencies to CHF 617.1 million (USD $687.7 million), corresponding to an EBITA margin of 25.5% (2019/20: 23.1%). The strong year-on-year margin improvement was largely driven by sustainable cost savings from the Group’s structural optimization and continuous improvement initiatives. It also benefited from lower marketing costs and travel expenses, and government support during the pandemic.

Cochlear Implants segment – Improvement towards fiscal year-end supported by product launch

The cochlear implants business achieved sales of CHF 184.5 million (USD $205.6 million) versus CHF 230.7 million (USD $257 million) in the prior year. This corresponds to a decrease of 15.9% in local currencies and 20.0% in Swiss francs, according to the company. Sales development was significantly restricted by the necessity for hospitals in many countries to concentrate on dealing with the pandemic and therefore to reduce the number of elective surgeries. There was also a residual impact from our voluntary field corrective action taken in February 2020. The launch of two new sound processors – Naída CI Marvel for adults and Sky CI Marvel for children – “markedly increased sales momentum towards the end of the financial year, attracting interest from both new and existing customers.”

The reported EBITA of CHF 82.4 million (USD $91.9 million) includes one-time income of CHF 124.4 million (USD $138.6) from the award in a patent infringement lawsuit; it also reflects a CHF 25.3 million (USD $28.2) impairment of capitalized development costs relating to a review of the product development roadmap in the frame of broader improvement efforts, along with restructuring costs of CHF 2.3 million (USD $2.6 million). Excluding these items, the segment posted an adjusted EBITA loss of CHF 14.3 million (USD $16 million) versus a positive adjusted EBITA of CHF 1.6 million (USD $1.89 million) in the prior year. Decisive steps were taken to adapt costs to the lower sales volume and to implement structural improvements, the company says.


The attractive fundamentals of the hearing care market remain intact despite the pandemic, Sonova says. The company pointed out that there is “pent-up demand to be satisfied and new demand emerging.” Sonova is confident that the strong recovery will persist, and that consumers will continue to demand even better hearing performance and technological innovation, delivered through an ever wider spectrum of channels. As a global market leader, the Group is in a strong position and expects to participate fully in a resurging market. Sonova therefore expects consolidated sales to increase by 24%-28% and adjusted EBITA to grow in the range of 34%-42% in 2021/22, both measured at constant exchange rates.

The planned acquisition of the Sennheiser Consumer Division is not yet included in the outlook.

Reflecting current exchange rates, Sonova anticipates reported sales growth in Swiss francs to be lifted by around 2 percentage points and adjusted EBITA growth in Swiss francs to be positively affected by around 4 percentage points in FY 2021/22.

Sonova’s Annual Report 2020/21 is available at:

The Annual Report 2020/21 is available on our website at:

The presentation of the Full-Year Results 2020/21 can be downloaded at:

To read the full press release, please click here.

Source: Sonova