Schwenk To Step Down as Pilatus Remains Steady

 - April 22, 2021, 1:10 PM
After a year when Pilatus matched sales and edged operating income, Oscar Schwenk said the time was right to step down as chairman. (Photo: Mark Wagner)

In releasing its 2020 results today, Pilatus Aircraft chairman Oscar Schwenk also announced that he would be stepping down this summer but would remain with the company in a non-operational capacity. “In Hansueli Loosli, a current member of the board of directors, we have found a capable personality who is available and qualified for this office,” he said. Loosli joined Pilatus's board in mid-2020 and has chaired numerous other boards, including Coop, Swisscom, Bell Food Group, Transgourmet, and Coop Mineraloel.

Despite the difficulties associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, Pilatus brought in CHF 1.1 billion ($1.2 billion U.S.) in 2020, nearly matching its 2019 results, and delivered 129 aircraft, five shy of the 134 delivered a year earlier, the Swiss manufacturer reported.

Operating income of CHF 155 million, meanwhile, edged out 2019 results of CHF 153 million. However, the order book fell from slightly more than CHF 2 billion at the end of 2019 to CHF 1.7 billion with new orders amounting to CHF 836 million in 2020. Deliveries in 2020 included 41 PC-24s, 82 PC-12 NGXs, and six PC-21s. Meanwhile, Pilatus reported that 2021 production is sold out and the PC-24 is sold well into 2022.

As for the pandemic, Pilatus said customers were cautious for the first four to six weeks but then returned, “contrary to expectations, and demand was all the stronger.” The biggest challenge was dealing with disrupted supply chains and production delays.

“We have come through a challenging year with flying colors. Surviving the corona year with such a good result is proof that Pilatus is a very healthy company with a sustainable strategy which is fully supported by all,” Schwenk said, and as a result “now is the right time” to step down.