Letter from the Board of Directors

Dear Shareholders, 

A good first half of the year was followed by a sharp slowdown in business during the second half, so the Vetropack Group is closing the 2023 fiscal year with a stable operating result at the same level as in the prior year. By investing in state-of-the-art production plant and thanks to the development and introduction of product innovations, Vetropack was able to strengthen its position as a market and technology leader. Especially in the second half of the year, however, the Group also felt the effects of a noticeable downturn in consumer demand as a consequence of inflation. At CHF 898.8 million, net sales from goods and services were more or less the same as in the prior year. After adjustments for currency effects, the Group was able to increase net sales from goods and services by 2.8 percent. Consolidated EBIT rose to CHF 91.3 million (prior year: CHF 89.1 million). Below the line, the Group is posting a profit of CHF 63.3 million (prior year: CHF 40.7 million).

2023 will go down in our records as a difficult fiscal year. Even more so than in previous years, our sector – in common with the entire packaging industry – felt the effects of the climate of crisis prevailing at present: wars, the aftermath of the energy crisis, inflation, and growing overall uncertainty are slowing down consumer behaviour, and this is also curtailing demand for packaging. Especially in the second half of 2023, this situation confronted our Group with a number of challenges to which we responded by very swiftly adjusting our production capacities. Across the Group, we are recording hundreds of line downtime days throughout 2023 – and it is currently impossible to predict when or how quickly this situation will change again.

Market situation remains tense

In fact, we can already see that 2024 is following on seamlessly from the weak second half of the preceding year. We will therefore be focusing on our efficiency even more intensively than in 2023: alongside proactive management of our capacities, this means that we will concentrate on reducing costs. This also applies to human resources, and in particular to restraint regarding the creation of new positions as well as new appointments to existing positions. We will also defer planned investments in our plants as far as possible.

Irrespective of these measures, we reserve the option of temporarily shutting down further lines and furnaces at individual sites if a change in the market situation necessitates such steps. In this same context, we already announced a difficult decision a few days ago: we are currently reviewing the closure of our production at the site in St-Prex, Switzerland, probably in the second half of 2024. We have already opened the consultation process on the future of the production site. Should this come to pass, it would be a drastic step for us. St-Prex is not merely our only plant in our home market of Switzerland: it is also the Vetropack Group's parent plant. For our employees in St-Prex, furthermore, this would mean that the majority of their jobs would cease to exist.

Nevertheless, we cannot yet see any alternative to closure: major investments in a complete furnace overhaul would become necessary in the coming years, even though this would bring about no permanent change in the plant’s future prospects and competitiveness.

Regardless of the outcome of the consultation process, Switzerland will remain our home and one of our core markets. Our company headquarters will remain in Bülach in the future. At all events, we will continue our commitment to glass recycling (Vetrorecycling) in collaboration with our Swiss partners at municipal level.

Proactive management of production capacities

Given that the tense market situation remains unchanged, we still reserve the general option of proactively adapting our Group-wide production capacities in response to developments. Following the furnace shutdown lasting several months in Kyjov, for instance, we are considering another furnace shutdown at the Kremsmünster site. Until further notice, moreover, we will only be using one of the two remaining furnaces at our Ukrainian plant in Gostomel.

These cutbacks mean that we are withdrawing massive production capacity from the market, because demand for glass packaging is currently weak due to the economic situation. The emphasis here is on “currently”: in fact, we assume that we are experiencing a temporary weakness in the market and that we can expect a recovery in the medium term. At that point, we will again have need of these capacities.

Stable development despite a difficult market environment

In view of the difficult environment, it is most remarkable that we maintained our sales in fiscal 2023 and closed the year with a good result. Given the current market conditions, this was certainly not an achievement that could be taken for granted – and, above all, it was the result of many correct decisions taken in preceding years. More than ever before, we are convinced that our Strategy 2030, with its five cornerstones, stakes out the right framework for the successful development of our group of companies in the coming years. This was clearly demonstrated once again in the past year, when we were able to make major progress in all our core areas: strengthening our market position, entering new business areas, quality and operational excellence, and innovation and sustainability. On this basis, we shall resolutely continue along this path again in 2024.

Overview of main results and key figures for the 2023 fiscal year






Net sales

CHF millions



– 0.1%


CHF millions




EBIT margin




Cash flow 1

CHF millions



– 8.5%

Cash flow margin




Consolidated profit 2

CHF millions





CHF millions









Total assets

CHF millions

1 263.8

1 234.5


Shareholders' equity

CHF millions




Gearing ratio











3 772

3 676


1 operating cash flow before change of net working capital

2 included extraordinary costs of CHF 31.4 million in 2022 as a result of the war in Ukraine

Sound operating result level with prior year

2023 was a challenging fiscal year, dominated by external crises. High energy and raw material prices, the war in Ukraine, and the significant deterioration in consumer sentiment due to inflation: all these factors had an exceptionally severe impact on the packaging industry and thus on our business in our core European markets. The second six months in particular were marked by an extreme market downturn, and the gains made in the first half of the year could no longer be realised in the second half. Below the line, therefore, there is a sound operating result at the same level as in the prior year.

Consistent development of our commitment to sustainability

2023 was also a year when we expanded the Clearly Sustainable pillar of our Strategy 2030 across all aspects of our ESG approach; we established appropriate governance for this purpose in the Group, and we added ESG risks to our risk matrix. These steps relate to all aspects of the concept of sustainability: in our commitment to sustainability, we have achieved progress in many different ways. We are driving ahead with the evaluation and implementation of new climate protection measures as part of our commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). We are deploying new and particularly efficient glass-blowing machines, and we will be launching our Echovai lightweight glass bottle in additional markets. We have also created a new position focussing on diversity, equity and inclusion.

New plant in Italy combines innovation with sustainability

Another major contribution to these endeavours is the opening of our new and exceptionally resource-efficient production facility in Italy: without doubt, the official opening of our plant in Boffalora sopra Ticino was the outstanding milestone as well as the highlight of the second half of 2023. This is one of the most modern glass container production facilities not only in our own Group, but anywhere in Europe.

In many respects, the site epitomises our vision of glass production that is both sustainable and innovative. For example: closed-loop systems ensure that water and waste heat are re-used, and smart technology is deployed to ensure efficient processes in production and storage. The new plant also enables us to produce more flexibly in smaller batches, helping us to respond directly to dynamic market conditions going forward. At a volume of over CHF 400 million, Boffalora sopra Ticino is also the largest investment that Vetropack has ever made in its future – and furthermore, we expect it to generate impetus for our other sites.

Ukraine plant resumes production

We also invested at other sites and launched some major initiatives in 2023. In May, we were able to resume glass production at our Ukrainian plant in Gostomel near Kyiv. This site was severely damaged by a Russian military attack during the first weeks of the war in 2022. Its reopening not only offers future prospects for our colleagues on the ground there. It also sends out an important signal of the strength of our entire Group, which has shown the utmost solidarity with our Ukrainian colleagues throughout the entire period. In 2023, the Vetropack Gostomel Foundation – which was set up specifically to support them – began making aid payments to Ukrainian employees particularly impacted by the war.

Anniversary and expansion of our site in the Czech Republic

An exceptional anniversary was celebrated in 2023 by Vetropack Moravia Glass, a.s., the Vetropack Group’s Czech subsidiary. This glassworks in the South Moravian town of Kyjov has been in existence for 140 years, and it has been part of the Vetropack Group since 1991. Our Czech facility has established its position within Vetropack as one of the leading glass packaging suppliers for Central Europe. In 2023, our site also became one of the first plants to operate two energy-saving high-performance machines with servo drives to ensure particularly precise control of the glass forming process. A newly retrofitted, state-of-the-art melting furnace to produce coloured glass also resumed operation in February.

Focus on innovation

As well as consolidating our market position, investments in our plants and modern technologies boost our innovative strength. One key focus in 2023 was on the ongoing market launch of our Echovai solution. With Echovai, Vetropack becomes the world’s first glass packaging manufacturer to offer an exceptionally stable type of lightweight glass bottle that is also very economical on materials. It is up to 30 percent lighter than a conventional returnable bottle – but at the same time, it is significantly more resistant to abrasion. Vetropack’s innovation was honoured in several categories of the prestigious Swiss Packaging Award at the start of June: as well as winning an award in the ‘Technology’ category, Echovai also received the jury's special prize.

Outlook for the 2024 fiscal year

Demand for glass packaging will only recover slowly in the coming fiscal year. This will continue to result in significant under-utilisation of our capacities. The consequence of this overcapacity on the market is likely to be further price erosion. We therefore assume that net sales from goods and services in fiscal 2024 will prove to be lower than in 2023, despite a forecast increase in volume. As things stand today, the reduced energy and raw material costs are already reflected in the lower market prices.

The market situation means that we are facing a challenging fiscal year in 2024; we are therefore pleased that our strategy gave us the basis for taking the right steps in recent years so that we can successfully overcome such situations. Our Group’s strength and the agility of our organisation have become guarantors of success, allowing us to take a positive view of the future.

Annual General Assembly of Vetropack Holding Ltd

The 55th Ordinary Annual General Assembly of Vetropack Holding Ltd will take place on Thursday, 25 April 2024 at 3:30 p.m. in the Stadthalle Bülach, Allmendstrasse 8, 8180 Bülach, Switzerland.

The Board of Directors will propose to the General Assembly that dividends are paid out as follows: a gross dividend of CHF 1.00 per class A registered share (2022: CHF 1.00), and a gross dividend of CHF 0.20 per class B registered share (2022: CHF 0.20).

The Board of Directors of Vetropack Holding Ltd will propose to the General Assembly that Urs Ryffel is elected to the Board of Directors. Urs Ryffel has acquired many years of industrial experience at ABB Kraftwerke AG, as Head of the Hydro Power Plant Service Global Business Unit, then as Unit General Manager for Alstom Power Hydraulique S.A., and at Huber+Suhner AG, which he has managed as CEO since 2017. Urs Kaufmann, who has been a member of the Board of Directors of Vetropack Holding Ltd since 2017, is not standing for re-election. Through his many years of committed service as a member of the Board of Directors, he has played a major part in the growth of the Vetropack Group. We are very grateful to him for this.

Our sincere thanks!

The Board of Directors thanks all our employees for their excellent collaboration and enormous dedication in the 2023 fiscal year. We thank our customers, suppliers, business partners and shareholders for their trust and support.

Bülach, 13 March 2024

Claude R. Cornaz

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Johann Reiter