DSM Integrated Annual Report 2020

Innovation Center performance 2020

Full year sales were in line with the previous year. DSM Biomedical delivered a solid performance even with the postponement of elective surgeries due to COVID-19. Full year Adjusted EBITDA was below the prior year with a solid performance of DSM Biomedical, which was offset by lower results in the backsheet business of DSM Advanced Solar. 

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Workforce at 31 December (headcount)





DSM Biomedical

DSM Biomedical is committed to solving some of our world’s key healthcare needs through sustainable science and is a trusted partner to the global medical device and pharmaceutical industry, enhancing the quality and delivery of healthcare through innovative and sustainable biomaterials.

Our top innovations and partnerships in 2020

A study regarding the Drug Eluting Coronary Stent from Svelte Medical, which contains our polyester-amide (PEA)-based drug delivery material, showed that treatment of blood vessels with the Svelte stent had cut the need for reinterventions to the lowest reported rate in an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) study. Typical reinterventions include angioplasty, another stent, or a surgical bypass. This device is saving lives.

We delivered clinical material to support a regulatory approval application to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) de novo 510(k) on behalf of our customer Miach. The Bridge-Enhanced® ACL Repair (BEAR®) product is a bio-engineered bridging scaffold to facilitate healing of tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It is hoped that this technology will allow for improved recovery of the knee following damage to the ACL.

In September 2020, we announced a partnership with Ireland-based PBC Biomed. This partnership will focus initially on the development of regenerative bone adhesives for safer, more cost-effective surgical procedures.

Organizational adjustments

Our organization focuses on our key strengths of sustainability and biomaterials. Production at our site in Berkeley (California, USA) was terminated during the fourth quarter of 2020 and the site is scheduled for closure in April 2021. This reduction of our manufacturing organization improved our cost structure. The reorganization will enable us to concentrate our efforts on top markets such as Orthopedics, Cardiovascular and Drug Delivery. We are also providing more support for international markets by strengthening our presence in Asia, where many countries are seeking to develop local medical device companies.

DSM Bio-based Products & Services

DSM Bio-based Products & Services continues to license out its yeast and enzyme technologies for bio-ethanol globally. Together with our joint venture partner POET, we decided to mothball the second-generation bio-ethanol plant in Emmetsburg (Iowa, USA) (‘Project Liberty’) in view of the prevailing market conditions for biofuels in 2020. As a result, we recorded an impairment of our investments in this joint venture (€85 million) in the second quarter. Additionally, in the fourth quarter, we recorded a €56 million impairment owing to an expected subdued market for biofuels.

DSM Advanced Solar

In September 2020, an agreement was reached to sell the coatings activities of DSM Advanced Solar to Covestro AG as part of the sale of DSM Resins & Functional Materials and related businesses. In the fourth quarter, we recorded a write down of €56 million on our solar assets following the sale to Covestro.

We received external recognition from the Solar Impulse Foundation for our Endurance backsheet’s sustainable character and from the renowned TÜV-SÜD institute for its durability. This was followed by the commercial launch of an ‘all-purpose’ Endurance backsheet D15 in November 2020.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)
EBITDA is the sum of operating profit plus depreciation and amortization. Adjusted EBITDA is the EBITDA adjusted for material items of profit or loss coming from acquisitions/divestments, restructuring and other circumstances that management deem it necessary to adjust in order to provide clear reporting on the development of the business.