In recent years, Marel has invested significantly in our global reach, digital platforms, and infrastructure and in 2021 continued to drive growth fueled by pioneering solutions and scale-up in local sales and service coverage globally. Marel plays a pivotal role in the food value chain, with a focus on continued innovation and introduction of pioneering solutions that strengthen our customers’ competitiveness. We remain fully committed to the 2023 operational performance targets and the growth targets for 2026.

Financial results in 2021

Marel’s orders were up by 22% in 2021, fueled by pioneering solutions and global reach

  • Record orders received up by 22% and revenues up 10% compared to 2020 
  • Good product mix with clear step up in sales of standard consumer-ready solutions, with continued momentum in aftermarket 
  • Strong demand for Marel solutions, software, and services as the need for automation and digitalization in food processing is accelerating 
  • Gross margin impacted by supply chain and logistics challenges, as well as strategic projects with the aim of increasing speed and scale 
  • Strong cash conversion supports continued investments in innovation, infrastructure, and strategic inventory buildup  
  • Marel remains committed to its mid-term and long-term targets 
2021 in brief

Financial highlights




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Financial performance

Marel is a critical infrastructure company in the food industry. The company’s significant investments in recent years in Marel’s global reach, digital platform, and infrastructure, have been instrumental in positioning the company to successfully navigate a business environment colored by the pandemic, geopolitical uncertainty, trade constraints, and accelerated changes in consumer behavior.

A system change is taking place focused on automation, robotics technology, and digital solutions that support sustainable food processing. Marel is playing a pivotal role in this transition to support customers’ agility and flexibility as they cater to changing consumer demands across various market channels such as e-commerce, food service, and traditional supermarkets.  

Marel’s local presence with sales and service engineers servicing customers in more than 140 countries is the foundation of its global reach and is key to the company’s success in terms of staying ahead of the market trends. Marel’s highest priority remains to deliver to the customers the right quality, at the right time.  

Marel’s effort to shorten production lead times and co-locate production in recent years, has also created more resilience in the supply chain. This together with the strategic inventory buildup allows us to be more agile during turbulent times, continue to serve customers’ needs, and ultimately keep the food value chain running. This is reflected in good delivery performance and growth in aftermarket revenues over the year, especially in spare parts, with two sequential record quarters in the latter half of 2021. 

Record orders received and strong pipeline

Marel closed the year with a record quarter of EUR 400.7 million in orders received, or a total of EUR 1,502.0 million for the full year, which is an increase of 22% compared to 2020. The industry mix was good, with a higher proportion of standard solutions for the consumer-ready food market and continued good momentum in services and software.  

Demand for Marel solutions, software and services is strong as the need for automation and digitalization in food processing is accelerating. Labor availability, a dynamic shift in consumer behavior and the request for agility to match consumer demand, as well as an increased focus from consumers and regulators on sustainability in food production, are driving forces to further transform the industry. Marel’s competitive position remains strong with continuous high conversion of pipeline into order book, while gradually capturing market share. 

M&A continues to stimulate organic growth and accelerate the innovation roadmap. Throughout the year, Marel secured important orders where a broader product portfolio following recent acquisitions were key. 

Order book at a healthy level

The order book at year-end was EUR 569.0 million, up 36.9% compared to EUR 415.7 million at year-end 2020, representing 41.8% of 12-month trailing revenues.  

The book-to-bill ratio was 1.10 for the full year, compared to an average of 1.06 in the past four quarters (4Q20-3Q21) and 1.00 at year-end 2020. 

Revenues scaling up 10% year-on-year

Revenues for the full year were EUR 1,360.8 million, up by 9.9% while the adjusted EBIT remained soft at 11.3%. Organic revenue growth was 4.4% and acquired growth 5.5% in 2021. 

Aftermarket, consisting of services and spare parts, represented 40% of total revenues in 2021 (2020: 40%). Spare parts were at a record level for two sequential quarters, and there is full focus on strengthening the spare parts delivery model and shortening lead times. 

Revenues per industry

Revenues by geography

Revenues by business mix

High focus on improving gross profit to reach mid-term targets

Looking at the healthy order book and strong pipeline gives us confidence to reconfirm our mid-term year-end 2023 targets of 40% gross profit, compared to 36.6% in 2021, which was impacted by supply chain and logistics challenges, as well as strategic projects with the aim of increasing speed and scale.  

The main drivers to reach our targets are increased volume, better mix, value-based pricing, and streamlining of the customer journey focusing on automating and synergizing the back-end. We have also undertaken transformational initiatives in 2021; especially worth noting are our investments in order fulfillment and distribution systems for spare parts to secure quicker response and delivery times around the globe.  

Scaling up ahead of the growth curve

We have courageously moved forward in the middle of the pandemic and stepped up sales and service coverage around the globe ahead of the foreseen growth curve. Sales and marketing (S&M) costs were at a level of 12.5% of revenues in 2021 (2020: 11.4%) and reflect the step up in market coverage in line with plans to leverage global reach and digital solutions to drive organic growth, which has started to translate into increased orders. Travel for customer visits and exhibitions on the rise as restrictions are lifted, focus on maintaining cost efficiencies from new ways of working, but we are expecting high customer activity and orders in the coming period. 

General administrative (G&A) costs were 6.9% of revenues in 2021 (2020: 6.9%), with important transformative initiatives ongoing. For example, a new shared services platform was launched in October, which was one of several ongoing initiatives for standardization and aligned ways of working to support our mid-term year-end 2023 targets aimed to lower G&A costs. 

We expect the momentum for orders received to continue and higher revenues will provide better cost coverage, moving sales and administration costs toward the targeted 18% level by year-end 2023, from the current level of 19.4% in 2021. The innovation performance and costs are close to the 6% strategic levels. 

Continued focus on improved EBIT margin

For the full year, adjusted EBIT was EUR 153.6 million (2020: 166.8 million), translating to an adjusted EBIT margin of 11.3% (2020: 13.5%). To increase transparency of one-off costs related to acquisitions and better reflect underlying business performance, Marel’s operating income is adjusted for PPA related costs, including depreciation and amortization, and acquisition related costs.  

Margins in 2021 were colored by step-up in market coverage and infrastructure initiatives to increase speed and agility for the expected growth curve resulting in higher operating expenses, in addition to margin pressure from supply chain and logistics challenges. 

However, the strong orders received across all industries and processing stages are expected to increase volume with foreseen more favorable industry mix, resulting in higher operating profits. 

Management continues to target medium- and long-term adjusted EBIT margin expansion for Marel Meat and Marel Fish. 

Robust cash flow generation

Cash flow, both operational and free cash flow remained strong in 2021, enabling continued significant investments in innovation, infrastructure, and strategic inventory buildup.  

Free cash flow amounted to EUR 116.0 million, compared to EUR 140.5 million in 2020. Working capital development was positive despite a strategic buildup of inventories to meet customer demand for critical spare parts and to ensure timely delivery.  

EUR 41.0 million was paid in dividends in April 2021 for the operational year 2020.  

Robust financial position to support the 2017-2026 growth strategy

The strong financial position enables continued investment and will facilitate future strategic moves in the ongoing industry consolidation wave, in line with the company’s 2017-2026 growth strategy. 

Leverage including lease liabilities was 1.0x at year-end 2021, compared to 1.0x at the end of 2020. Marel’s current leverage is well below the targeted capital structure of 2-3x net debt/EBITDA. Coupled with Marel’s financial strength, this enables continued investment and will facilitate future strategic moves in line with the company’s 2017-2026 growth strategy.  

Marel has committed liquidity of EUR 666.5 million at year-end 2021 and fully committed all-senior funding in place until 2025.  

Investments to support increased speed, scale and sustainability

To best serve customer needs and capture growth opportunities from changing market dynamics, cash capital expenditures excluding research and development (R&D) investments are expected to increase to on average 4-5% of revenues over the next four years, thereafter returning back to more normalized levels.  

Important transformative initiatives ongoing, for example stepping up market coverage in growth markets, innovation investments in digital solutions, improvement projects to streamline the back-end, as well as automating and digitalizing the manufacturing platform, supply chain, and aftermarket.  

In 2021, Marel opened new demo center facilities in Campinas, Brazil and Shanghai, China—Marel’s first in both Latin America and China. The facilities cement Marel’s commitment to the growing markets and signal intent to work even more closely and efficiently to support the customers, partners, and the broader food processing industry in key regions. 

Marel is a trusted maintenance partner and a key focus going forward is on automating and digitalizing the end-to-end spare parts handling to ensure agility and shorter lead times. Spare parts sales were at a record level for two sequential quarters, 3Q21 and 4Q21. 

Dividend proposal of 40%

In line with Marel’s targeted capital allocation and dividend policy of 20-40% payout ratio, the Board of Directors will propose a 40% payout ratio at the 2021 Annual General Meeting, to be held on 16 March 2022 (2021: 40%). Based on a EUR 5.12 cents dividend per outstanding share paid for the operational year 2021, the estimated total dividend payment will be around EUR 38.7 million. This is a 6% decrease in dividend per share compared with the previous year.

Maintaining technological leadership with pioneering innovation solutions

Marel’s research and development (R&D) amounted to EUR 80.8 million in 2021 excluding PPA related costs, equal to 5.9% of revenues. This is in line with the company’s innovation promise of around 6% on a continuous basis to drive further organic growth.  

With a team of more than 1,000 innovation experts and engineers in 10 countries in a challenging external environment, Marel continued to deliver and develop new solutions in partnership with customers. 

Marel introduced 27 new highly innovative products and upgrades to the market in 2021, driving automation and sustainability in food processing. Innovation in recent years has focused on digital and full-line offering to improve automation, yield, and efficiency as well as enabling processors to meet consumer demand for a balanced diet, traceability, and food safety.  

Revenues and adjusted EBIT¹

As percentage of revenues

Note: ¹Operating income adjusted for PPA related costs, including depreciation and amortization, and acquisition related costs.

Orders received

And development of order book

Adjusted EBIT¹

Note: ¹Operating income adjusted for PPA related costs, including depreciation and amortization, and acquisition related costs.


Net debt/EBITDA

Note: Targeted capital structure of 2-3x net debt / EBITDA.

Cash flow

Earnings per share

Industry performance

Marel is a leading global provider of advanced food processing equipment, systems, software, and services to the poultry, meat, and fish industries. Marels revenue streams are well diversified by geography, by industries, and by processing steps.

Marel Poultry

Marel Poultry’s competitive position remains strong on the back of its established full-line offering. With one of the largest installed bases worldwide, Marel Poultry focuses on rollout of innovative products and market penetration through cross-selling of secondary and further processing solutions. The acquisition of Poultry Machinery Joosten (PMJ) in January 2021 has been fueling organic growth in terms of new sales into the duck market.

Orders have been strong for three sequential quarters after a soft start to the year 2021. Pipeline remains strong, supporting stronger volume going forward with a favorable product mix. Profitability impacted by volatility in volume and scaling up ahead of the growth curve.  

Revenues in 2021 were EUR 639.1 million, a similar level as previous year, despite softness in orders for larger projects in the beginning of 2021. Adjusted EBIT margin for the full year was 14.3%, compared to 18.3% in 2020.  

Marel Meat

Marel Meat is a full-line supplier to the meat processing industry, with a focus on strong product development, increased standardization, modularization, and market penetration and further cross-selling and upselling.

Overall, orders received for Marel Meat were at a strong level at year-end 2021. The need for automation and channel flexibility has never been clearer and the pipeline shows good opportunities in China and North America.  

Revenues in 2021 were up 22.3% on the back of acquisitions and organic growth. Adjusted EBIT margin in 2021 was 9.2%, compared to 8.7% in 2020. Focus in 2021 was on stepping up market coverage, further strengthening the management team, value-based pricing, better project execution, and several other strategic initiatives ongoing for profit improvement.

Management continues to target medium- and long-term adjusted EBIT margin expansion for Marel Meat.  

Marel Fish

Marel Fish’s objective is to reach full-line offering across farmed and wild whitefish and salmon through continued focus on innovation and M&A. Marel acquired the remaining 50.0% of the shares of Curio on 1 February 2022. The recent acquisitions of Curio and Valka, and investment in Stranda Prolog, will further accelerate the innovation roadmap to close certain application gaps to reach full-line offering for both salmon, as well as wild and farmed whitefish. Combined platform will also further unlock synergies in terms of cross- and upselling, market penetration, and gradually expanding species coverage.

Orders received in 2021 have been overall solid but pipeline for salmon remains strong while whitefish is picking up, and higher conversion of pipeline into orders expected in coming quarters.  

Revenues in 2021 were up 6.9% however still below the volume needed to deliver sufficient margin improvement. Adjusted EBIT margin was 5.6% in 2021, compared to 5.4% in 2020. Management continues to target medium and long-term EBIT margin expansion for Marel Fish. 

Committed to mid-term and long-term targets 

For the period 2017-2026, Marel has set a target of 12% average annual increase in revenues, through both organic growth and acquisitions. Compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in 2017-2021 was 7.0%. Marel’s growth plan involves capitalizing on strong innovation investment and global reach to drive expansion and market penetration, as well as strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Marel’s management expects basic earnings per share (EPS) to grow faster than revenues. 

Mid-term target for year-end 2023

In the mid-term, management is committed to achieving its targets of 40% gross profit and selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) of 18%, and to maintaining the innovation investment at the 6% strategic level until year-end 2023. 

Long-term target for year-end 2026

Marel’s management expects average annual market growth of 4-6% in the long term. Marel aims to grow organically faster than the market, driven by innovation and growing market penetration.  

Due to catch-up effect from the past five years and a very strong tailwind in the market, accelerated by the pandemic, management believes that market growth in the medium term (2021-2026) will be at a level of 6-8%. 

Maintaining solid operational performance and strong cash flow is expected to support 5-7% revenues growth on average by acquisition.  


Market conditions have been challenging due to geopolitical uncertainty and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Marel enjoys a balanced exposure to global economies and local markets through its global reach, innovative product portfolio, and diversified business mix. Supply chain and logistics challenges are expected to continue to have an impact in 2022, although it is not known what the full economic impact will be on Marel. 

Growth is not expected to be linear but based on opportunities and economic fluctuations. Operational results may vary from quarter to quarter due to general economic developments, fluctuations in orders received and timing of deliveries of larger systems. 

Acquisitions and strategic partnerships

Strategic partnership with TOMRA is proceeding well. The two companies co-developed and then in 2021 launched a true game-changer in foreign material detection, the Marel Spectra. This revolutionary solution will meet Marel’s customers challenges head on to deliver contamination free, safe, and sustainable food. 

The acquisition of Dutch duck processing solutions provider PMJ, with around EUR 5.0 million in annual revenues, closed on 21 January 2021. The acquisition makes Marel the industry’s only full-line provider of duck processing solutions. The growing duck market (estimated to be ~EUR 6 billion) will become a third pillar within poultry processing alongside broilers and turkey, allowing Marel to leverage its global sales and service network and expand into new markets. 

The acquisition of Valka, an Icelandic provider of advanced processing solutions for the global fish industry with around EUR 17.0 million in annual revenues, closed on 19 November 2021. The acquisition will accelerate the innovation roadmap and strengthen Marel’s full-line offering and scale to serve customers’ needs better. 

The acquisition of a 40% stake in Stranda Prolog, a Norwegian provider of salmon processing solutions, and the launch of a strategic partnership between the two companies was announced on 29 January 2021. 

Subsequent events in beginning of 2022

On 1 February 2022, Marel acquired the remaining 50.0% of the shares of Curio, an innovative primary processing equipment provider for whitefish processing. Curio and Marel have worked closely together since Marel acquired 39.3% of Curio on 22 October 2019 and an additional 10.7% of the share capital on 4 January 2021, and as such, Marel initiated the acquisition of the remaining shares ahead of the agreed timing. 

The transaction is yet another important building block on Marel’s ambitious growth journey. By combining Curio’s highly complementary product portfolio of heading, filleting, and skinning solutions with Marel’s global sales and service network, ensuring proximity to customers for sales, installations, and aftermarket services, the resulting synergies from the integration are expected to positively contribute to management’s medium- and long-term target for adjusted EBIT margin expansion in the fish industry. 

Key figures

Figures in millions of EUR

  2021 2020 Change
Gross profit
   Gross profit as a % of revenues
Adjusted result from operations (EBIT)1
   Adjusted EBIT as a % of revenues1
   EBITDA as a % of revenues
Non-IFRS adjustments
Result from operations (EBIT)
   EBIT as a % of revenues
Orders received 
Order book


Notes: 1Operating income adjusted for PPA related costs, including depreciation and amortization, and acquisition related costs. 2Including acquired order book of TREIF of EUR 5m in 4Q20. 3Including acquired order book of Curio, PMJ and Valka of EUR 12m.

2021 consolidated financial accounts

Results in millions of EUR

  2021 2020 2019
Gross profit
Result before depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)
Result from operations (EBIT)
Net result for the period

Order book in millions of EUR

  2021 2020 2019
Orders received 
Order book

Cash flow statement in millions of EUR

  2021 2020 2019
Cash generated from operating activities, before interest & tax
Net cash from (to) operating activities
Net cash from (used in) investing activities
Net cash from (used in) financing activities
Net cash flow

Financial position in millions of EUR

  2021 2020 2019
Total assets
Working capital
Group equity
Net debt

Various figures in proportions to sales

  2021 2020 2019
Gross profit1
Selling and marketing expenses1
General and administrative expenses1
Research and development expenses1
Wages and benefits
Result before depreciation (EBITDA)
Adjusted result from operations (EBIT)*
Net result for the period


Note: 1Adjusted for PPA related costs, including depreciation and amortization, and acquisition related costs.

Other key ratios

  2021 2020 2019
Current ratio
Quick ratio
Equity ratio
Return on total equity
Return on total assets

Glossary of terms

Book-to-bill ratio

The ratio of orders received to revenues booked off, an indication of how quickly a business fulfills the demand for its product


Capital expenditure; money spent to buy, maintain, or improve fixed assets

Current ratio

Current assets / Current liabilities


Earnings before interest and tax


Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization


Earnings per share

Equity ratio

Total equity / [Total equity + Total Liabilities]

Free cash flow

Cash generated from operating activities less tax and net investments


Net interest bearing debt / EBITDA

Net debt

Interest bearing borrowings (current and non-current) - Cash and cash equivalents

Net cash

Cash and cash equivalents

Order book

Reflects Marel’s estimates, as of the relevant order book date, of potential future revenues to be derived from contracts for equipment, software, service, and spare parts, which have been financially secured through down payments and/or letters of credit in line with the relevant contract terms. These estimates reflect the estimated total nominal values of amounts due under the relevant contracts less any amounts recognised as revenues in Marel’s financial statements as of the relevant order book date.

Orders received

Represent the total nominal amount, during the relevant period, of customer orders for equipment, software, service, and spare parts registered by Marel.


Purchase price allocation

Quick ratio

[Current assets - Inventories] / Current liabilities

Return on total equity

Result for the period / Average of total equity ( [beginning balance + ending balance for the period] / 2)

Return on total assets

Result for the period / Average of total assets ( [beginning balance + ending balance for the period] / 2)

Working capital

Current assets - current liabilities