Toy market news

SIMBA DICKIE GROUP publishes data on business development in 2020

Consolidated sales in 2020 totalled €715m (+1.8%)

2020 was shaped by COVID-19. Activities at the Simba Dickie Group were intensely influenced from mid-March 2020 onwards by the impact of the pandemic. A main focus of the toy manufacturer during this period was to develop and implement suitable hygiene concepts to protect all the employees at the various companies of the international group, and to constantly adapt these concepts to the ever-changing conditions. Further, the management team had to constantly react to the changing situation in a timely manner, both organisationally and financially, by taking appropriate measures.

“It is therefore all the more pleasing,” said Manfred Duschl, CFO of the international toy manufacturer, during the digital annual press conference in Fürth, Germany, “that despite this completely new situation, the Simba Dickie Group was able to increase its consolidated sales in 2020 by 1.8%, compared to the previous year, to €715m.” Consolidated sales in 2019 totalled €702.3m.

“One reason for this pleasing development,” explained Manfred Duschl, “was, in particular, the fact that the Simba Group and the Dickie Group, as the two cornerstones of the business, were able to prevent a dip in consolidated sales compared to the previous year and even expand sales thanks to increased business dealings in the US.

In the core market Germany, in the USA and in other important European markets, sales grew compared to the previous year. As a result of the lockdown measures, which varied from country to country, a shift towards e-commerce has become very clear throughout Europe. Moreover, there was a definite change in the ordering behaviour of certain customers due to a change in their willingness to take risks. This led to a shift from direct imports from Hong Kong to domestic substitutes.”

The Simba Group, which includes BIG, was able to more or less maintain consolidated sales in 2020 at €198m, compared to the previous year’s level of €199m.

Thanks to increased business dealings in the US, the Dickie Group along with Jada Toys was able to significantly boost consolidated sales by 4.5% from €194.7m in 2019 to €203.4m.

The Smoby Group was more severely affected by the lockdown measures than other Group companies due to the enforced closure of its production facilities in France for several weeks. For this reason, the Smoby Group’s consolidated sales dropped from €101.3m to €95.7m in 2020.

Various countries in Europe, including Spain and Poland, but also countries outside Europe where the Simba Dickie Group is represented through its own companies, for example in South Africa, India or the Middle East, were more severely affected by the 2020 pandemic than others. In some of the said countries, sales were well down on the previous year. As a result, consolidated sales at the foreign subsidiaries fell overall from €207.3m in 2019 to €195m in 2020.

International percentage of sales

The international share of the Simba Dickie Group’s earnings is 75%.  The Group’s main export destinations in 2020 were once again France, Italy and the USA.

When describing the outlook for the coming year, Manfred Duschl says: “The coronavirus pandemic will continue to accompany and challenge us in 2021. In addition, there will be economic consequences resulting from the pandemic. Against this backdrop and the as-yet unforeseeable financial impact of the pandemic, the Simba Dickie Group plans to maintain consolidated sales in 2021 at the 2020 level of €715m.”


At the end of 2020, the Simba Dickie Group had 2,950 employees worldwide.

The figure at the end of the previous year was 3,090. The changes compared to the previous year are due to the adjustments in capacity at the factories of Smoby Toys in France and Majorette in Thailand. The temporary closure of production facilities in relation to the pandemic was also accompanied by a drop in sales.

At the end of 2020, the Simba Dickie Group employed 792 people in Germany (previous year: 777) and 194 people in the Hong Kong companies (previous year: 195). The remaining 1,964 people (2019: 2,118) work for the Simba Dickie Group overseas.

Earnings and financial position

The earnings and financial situation of the Simba Dickie Group remained unchanged compared to the previous year. It was not negatively impacted by the pandemic and the related implications. Manfred Duschl continues to describe the situation as “good, robust and very stable”.

Key investments and changes in 2020

Overall investment of the Simba Dickie Group in 2020 was roughly €55m.

As in the previous year, approximately €15m of the overall investment was invested in tools for new products and approximately €5m in new machinery and mechanical equipment. First and foremost, the completion of the investment in a completely new and basically fully automatic Bobby Car assembly line at BIG’s production facility in Burghaslach/Gleißenberg, Germany, worth a total of €1.5m, should be mentioned. Investments in a fully automatic sorting and packaging system for wooden items at Eichhorn’s production facility in Lam, Germany, amounted to €1m. In addition, there were investments in new injection moulding technologies at the production facilities of Smoby Toys in France and BIG in Gleißenberg.
Further significant investments and initiatives in 2020 included:

Completion of the fully automatic high-bay warehouse with an additional 13,200 pallet spaces and three-fold expansion of the automatic small parts warehouse at the Simba Dickie Group logistics centre in Sonneberg, Germany. Work on the automatic small parts warehouse was completed by mid-2020. The fully automatic high-bay warehouse in Sonneberg was put into operation in January 2021.

SAP connection of the subsidiaries Corolle in France and Simba Toys in India, as well as the commissioning of the new comprehensive SAP logistics solution, known as the ‘Extended Warehouse Management Solution’. This went live in May 2020.

Acquisition of a significant stake in the Dutch company Dutch Toys Group (Exit Toys) in November 2020. Exit Toys is a supplier of trampolines, swimming pools, sports and other outdoor items, which are mainly sold through the e-commerce channel. Exit Toys has extensive experience in the online market. The Simba Dickie Group intends to make full use of the available synergistic effects.

Planned investments and initiatives in 2021

Manfred Duschl summarises the investment plans for 2021 as follows: “Particularly in terms of the volume, but also in terms of the timing, our investments in the new year will depend substantially on how the pandemic continues to develop. However, no matter what happens, investments will continue to be made in machinery at all the Group’s production facilities to take full advantage of the rationalisation potential. We plan to invest in tools for new products at the same level as in 2020. Furthermore, the SAP connection of Smoby Toys in France, Simba Dickie Nordic in Norway and Sweden, and Simba Toys in Spain is scheduled for 2021.”

In 2021, the investment volume  – as far as it is currently known and assessed – will amount to approximately €45m. As in previous years, approximately 50% of this will be attributable to Germany.