Graenichen (CH), 20 July 2023: The Zehnder Group (SIX: ZEHN), a leading international provider of complete solutions for a comfortable, energy-efficient and healthy indoor climate, increased its sales by 2 % to EUR 407.0 million in the first half of 2023 (preliminary). The Group’s operating result (EBIT) rose by 2 % to EUR 37.5 million (preliminary). The corresponding EBIT margin of 9.2 % is at the level of the previous year. An improvement in the supply chain situation in the ventilation segment together with targeted cost savings and structural adjustments could counterbalance the volume decline in radiators. The Group’s net income amounted to EUR 27.7 million (previous year: EUR 29.4 million) in the first half of 2023.
Better supply capability drives ventilation sales; significant volume decline for radiators
The better component availability led to improved delivery capability, particularly in residential ventilation. Consequently, production volumes of ventilation units were increased, and the backlog of orders accumulated due to a lack of components was largely reduced. At the same time, higher interest rates and the persistently high level of inflation over recent months have led to a drop in planning permits granted for new buildings in numerous European countries. Weakening purchasing power due to increased financing costs and persistently high levels of inflation have also led to a decline in demand for radiators. This development had a negative impact on the renovation business and led to a significant overall decline in volumes in the radiator segment.
Outlook for the full year 2023
Due to the current economic situation, the Zehnder Group expects that high levels of inflation and rising interest rates will continue to affect the number of planning permits granted for new buildings and renovation projects for customers. It is currently difficult to gauge when the new building and renovation business willrecover. Against this background, the Zehnder Group continues to expect a challenging market development and currently does not expect any significant sales growth in the second half of 2023. Consequently, Zehnder Group expects sales for the full year 2023 between EUR 780 million and EUR 820 million (previous outlook 2023: further sales growth for 2023), and an EBIT margin of around 8 % of sales (previous outlook 2023: EBIT margin comparable to that of 2022).
In the long term, growth prospects remain positive, particularly in the ventilation segment. New building regulations for better insulated buildings, the increasing demand for energy-saving and efficient climate control solutions, and the desire for healthy indoor air quality, together with the still low penetration rates in various countries, are fueling growth – especially in the ventilation segment. Therefore, the medium-term targets of average annual sales growth of 5 % and an EBIT margin of 9 % to 11% remain unchanged.
The complete six-month report 2023 will be published on 28 July 2023 and will be found on our website under the following link:
Zehnder Group provides worldwide leading solutions for a comfortable, energy-efficient and healthy indoor climate. The products and services of the Group include heating, cooling, indoor ventilation and air cleaning. The Group develops and manufactures its products at its own factories in Europe, China and North America. In the financial year of 2022, the Zehnder Group had about 4000 employees and achieved sales of EUR 812 million. The company is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (symbol: ZEHN, number: 27 653 461). The unlisted registered shares B are held directly or indirectly by the Zehnder family and persons closely associated with them.
Earlier detection of breast cancer
By guest author Werner Siefer from PSI
Villigen, July 18, 2023
A research team from PSI and ETH Zurich, together with the Baden Cantonal Hospital and University Hospital Zurich, wants to improve a method used for diagnosing breast cancer.
Women – and their doctors – can hope for huge improvements in breast cancer screening. A team of researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich, together with the Baden Cantonal Hospital (KSB) and the University Hospital Zurich (USZ), has succeeded in refining mammography, x-ray imaging technique used to detect tumours in their early stages, to produce considerably more reliable results and be less unpleasant for the patient. With this, the researchers have extended conventional computed tomography (CT) such that the image resolution is significantly higher for the same radiation dose. This means that small calcium deposits, known as microcalcifications, which can be a sign of breast tumours, could be detected earlier than before, and this improves the chances of survival for the women concerned. The experts believe that this technique, which is based on X-ray phase contrast, could be swiftly put to use in clinical settings. “We need a little bit more time,” says Marco Stampanoni, head of the research group at PSI, who is a professor of X-ray imaging at ETH Zurich. “But with our work we have taken an important step on the way.”
Earlier diagnosis means better treatment
In 2020, breast cancer was the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer worldwide, with over two million cases. It accounts for 24.5 percent of cancer cases in women, and 15.5 percent of cancer-related deaths. Mammography screening programmes, which have been shown to reduce mortality rates, are used as an early detection tool in many developed countries. As with all tumours, the same applies to those found in the breast: the earlier the diagnosis is confirmed, the sooner the appropriate therapy can begin and the higher the chances of survival. However, the effectiveness of mammography screening is controversial. Control studies have found that only 46 % of suspected cases detected during screening are confirmed as cancer. Such false alarms cause great emotional distress to the patients concerned; it can take two to three weeks before the biopsy result finally gives the all-clear. In addition, mammography misses 22 % of genuine cases, lulling the women concerned into a false sense of security when in fact they do have the disease. This is even more serious because valuable time is wasted before treatment can begin.
The reason for these weaknesses is that mammograms are difficult to read correctly, even for experts. The soft tissue of the breast displays limited contrast when X-rayed. In addition, two-dimensional imaging often fails to clearly depict the complicated interior of the breast. In order to be accessible for the X-ray examination at all, it is necessary to firmly compress the breast. This is often uncomfortable, sometimes painful, for women, and as a result some do not go for screening,
Increase resolution by up to 45 %.
Phase-contrast X-ray imaging allows researchers to extend tumour diagnostics by providing additional physical information. This means they can use ian effect in image creation that is not taken into account in conventional X-rays, information that is contained in the signals produced when X-rays are refracted and scattered by biological tissue. This is because electromagnetic waves, including X-rays and visible light, are not only attenuated when they pass through structures of different densities, but also refracted and diffracted. This information can be used to improve both the contrast of the images and their resolution, making tiny objects easier to identify.
The researchers resort to a method used to measure physical systems, known as grating interferometry (GI for short). Here the X-rays not only pass through the object being examined, but also through three gratings with a line spacing of a few micrometres, which make the additional information visible. Stampanoni’s team published several images in the journal Optica which clearly demonstrate the advantages of GI computed tomography in terms of resolution and contrast compared with conventional X-rays. The X-rays can come from a conventional X-ray source, whereby the radiation dose is roughly equivalent to that in conventional CT scans of the breast. “We are aiming to reduce the dose by a factor of two to three while maintaining the same resolution or increasing the resolution by 18 to 45 % – in each case compared with conventional X-rays,” explains physicist Michał Rawlik, lead author of the paper and a member of the research team surrounding Stampanoni.
New method with higher comfort for early detection of cancer
Assuming they receive Swissmedic approval, the researchers plan to start clinical trials with their clinical partners at the USZ and KSB by the end of 2024. By then, a prototype of the necessary device, with which the first examinations of patients can take place, ought to be ready for use. According to Stampanoni, the researchers are planning to spend one to two years on these tests. “If everything goes as planned, developing the commercial device and carrying out trials at selected clinics can then begin,” he says.
The new screening method should also make the procedure more comfortable for patients. The machine will be set up so that patients can lie face down on a table with gaps in the chest area. The tomograph is placed underneath and shielded from the patient; the measuring device rotates around the breasts, creating a three-dimensional image.
“The phase-contrast X-rays reveal fine details of the tissue,” adds Rahel Kubik-Huch, Director of the Department of Medical Services at KSB and Chief Physician for Radiology, who was involved in the research work. “This translational project is meant to explore the potential of this technique for detecting breast cancer in its early stages. KSB is very keen to promote its research collaboration with PSI and ETH Zurich. We hope that one day our patients will be able to benefit from these advances.”
Increased dose efficiency of breast CT with grating interferometry
Rawlik, M et al.
The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI develops, builds and operates large, complex research facilities and makes them available to the national and international research community. The institute’s own key research priorities are in the fields of future technologies, energy and climate, health innovation and fundamentals of nature. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore about one quarter of our staff are post-docs, post-graduates or apprentices. Altogether PSI employs 2200 people, thus being the largest research institute in Switzerland. The annual budget amounts to approximately CHF 420 million. PSI is part of the ETH Domain, with the other members being the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, as well as Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology), Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) and WSL (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research).