Let me start with the good news. Perlen Packaging once again closed the 2020 financial year very successfully. Net sales reached CHF 162.3 million, which is an increase of 10.7 per cent over the previous year after currency adjustments. The operating result amounted to CHF 21.6 million. Perlen Packaging thus continued the sustainable development of the company that has been ongoing for several years.
The higher demand for pharmaceutical blister packs was supported by the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. This was a major challenge to the entire organisation, as orders jumped in the spring and the European plants, at the Perlen headquarters and in Müllheim, were working at full capacity in 2020. Only by synchronising the global coating capacities and partially relocating the duplex films with a medium barrier to our Chinese plant in Suzhou, could the delivery times be kept at a level in line with the market. We were pleased with the great willingness and support we received from our customers.
Perlen Packaging stands by its promises. In the middle of last year we announced that we would invest a "high single-digit million sum" in the construction of a new coating plant for PVdC films with a capacity of 6,500 tonnes per year at our Brazilian site in Anápolis. The prerequisites for this have now been created as of the end of the year and the previous majority shareholding of 60 % has been increased to 100 % ownership. At the same time, this expansion of our coating capacities also means the provisional completion of the ongoing strategy and expansion of Perlen Packaging into a global supplier of pharmaceutical packaging. Our maxim also applies here. With this investment, we want to continue to be a reliable partner for our globally active customers, but we also want to support our local customers in the Latin American markets even better with greater flexibility and local service.
Now for the less pleasant news. The Covid 19 pandemic continues to keep the world on tenterhooks. The problems began last year with the disruption of the global container shipping system as millions of containers were used to ship personal protective equipment and other essential products. Often, containers never returned to the cycle because many receiving countries did not have appropriate return cargo. Ships only dock in ports when there are goods to be collected there. The result: an absolute shortage of containers worldwide with a corresponding explosion in costs.
The same applies to the commodity markets. Numerous shutdowns of major petrochemical plants, import restrictions and weather-related disruptions, as recently in the USA, have led to extremely critical supply bottlenecks. The plastics industry is currently not in a position to cover the existing demand. Quotations have long since far exceeded the level before the Covid crisis and are heading for a historic high. There is no relief in sight, the forecasts are being pushed up from month to month and it can be assumed that there will be no calming down before the end of the year. At the moment, price acceptance of the higher quotations is pitted against security of supply. Our focus is clearly on securing supply so that we can meet the promised delivery deadlines. Unfortunately, we too can only accept the monthly price increases for raw materials, albeit grudgingly. We therefore count on your understanding when we pass on these cost increases to the market. It is quite possible that this will have to be done in several steps if the situation continues for another few months.
Even if the Covid 19 pandemic should still hold further unpleasant surprises in store for the current year, we are looking ahead with cautious optimism.
Stay healthy and take care of yourself.