Demand for glass container manufacturing equipment recovered in the first half of 2021, reported Bucher Emhart Glass.

In it latest financial note, the Swiss-based glass technology supplier said demand had increased as a result of an easing of restrictions in the gastronomic sector and at major public events.

Order intake grew nearly 75% from the year before, to CHF235 million, up 74.8% from CHF134 million ($148 million) in 2020.

“Customers began more and more to approve projects and to invest in modernising their machines,” it said

Overall, the division’s order intake rose by well over half compared to the low level of the previous year, with an increase in orders for glass-forming machinery in particular.

The recovery was reflected in sales, but with a delay. Challenges were still posed by restrictions on travel, higher transport prices and bottlenecks in logistics, as well as the situation in Malaysia, where public authorities have imposed new restrictions due to Covid-19.

“In this environment, sales declined slightly on the prior-year period, which still benefited from a very high order book. The operating profit margin increased substantially, in part due to a favourable product mix.”

It expects demand to continue to rise and production capacity utilisation to be higher in the second half of the year.

“Given the low level of capacity utilisation in the first quarter, however, the division expects sales for the year as a whole to be down slightly on 2020.”