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In two days, IDS will open its doors for the 39th time. Even though several major competitors in the dental industry will not be participating, visitors can look forward to the showcase of a company that has been designing dental solutions for 50 years and whose story started at IDS. In this interview, Planmeca founder and President Heikki Kyöstilä and Senior Vice President of Planmeca Group Tuomas Lokki share details on the newest business developments, Planmeca’s formula for success and what visitors can discover at the company’s booth.
Planmeca recently entered into a binding agreement to acquire the KaVo treatment unit and instrument business from Envista. Why have you taken this strategic step, and how will this acquisition benefit Planmeca’s position in the global dental market?
We are very excited about the acquisition and the excellent future growth possibilities it will provide to both companies. KaVo is a very strong and renowned brand in the dental industry. Both companies have extensive product portfolios, but combined they now provide a complementary and versatile offering. We are very committed to further developing both product ranges with the latest technological innovations and know-how. In addition, we also share a very strong heritage of family ownership and values, which was an important aspect for us in the acquisition.
The acquisition will strengthen Planmeca Group’s position in the dental market and certain product segments. A larger company size and broader offering will also increase our brand awareness and visibility within the dental professional community. Moreover, we see the acquisition as a possibility to offer our valued partners even better customer service.
Despite the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, Planmeca Group achieved a substantial turnover of €744 million in 2020. What are your forecasts for this and the coming year, and how do you think the pandemic will continue to affect the dental industry?
Despite the unprecedented times and challenges during the pandemic, we have managed to reach quite good results with teamwork, resilience and great partners. One of the reasons for our success has been Planmeca Group’s strength and market leadership in the dental supplies distribution business in northern Europe. We were able to provide our customers with vital personal protective equipment, despite worldwide shortages and difficulties, enabling dental practices to serve their patients safely.
In terms of equipment sales, we also had a very good year in dental units. Our R & D focus has always been on very advanced hygiene concepts, innovative water systems and treatment safety. This long-term strategic work paid off in light of the pandemic, these sophisticated hygiene and safety aspects being of key importance. We strongly believe that such product features will remain essential in the future too, and we are proud to have been a pioneer in these.
We consider that the market is still challenging, but we are confident that conditions will slowly get better and back to normal with increasing vaccination coverage.
As a consequence of the pandemic, we were all forced to quickly develop new and innovative virtual events, webinar concepts and digital tools to have a way to meet with our customers and partners. Certainly, the best and most effective of these solutions, especially perhaps distance learning, will continue to gain increased importance in the future too.
This year, IDS is taking place under extraordinary circumstances, and in contrast to some other global players, Planmeca is participating. What are your expectations for the show, and what are the highlights that visitors to the Planmeca booth can look forward to?
This year marks the celebration of Planmeca’s 50th anniversary. The company’s international business and growth story officially started in 1971 at IDS. For us, it was clear that we wanted to participate in IDS, the leading dental event, despite these special circumstances. The travel restrictions are likely to affect the number of international visitors, but we are extremely eager and happy to be able to meet our customers and distribution partners in Cologne.
We have further sharpened our product portfolio and are proud to offer a leading and complete digital workflow to dental professionals with one software program. We are excited to present a vast range of digital innovations and products, such as the brand-new Planmeca Romexis 3D Cephalometry software module, the Planmeca Romexis LabApp image transfer application and an upcoming clear aligner solution, HeySmile, which communicates seamlessly with Planmeca products. Visitors can experience the Planmeca digital workflow first-hand and learn about the unique benefits of Planmeca’s all-in-one solution at our booth (#K010) in Hall 11.2.