"The pace of recovery that was noted at the beginning of October continued throughout the fourth quarter," Widing said this week.
"Demand in our long-cycle mining business was strong and we saw a sequential uptick in our short-cycle business. Consequently, organic order intake - excluding major orders - for the group grew by 3% year-on-year.
"Despite lower revenues in the wake of COVID-19, we delivered strong and improved adjusted margin of 20.1% [versus 19.1% a year earlier] in the quarter, supported by our short-and-long-term savings initiatives, which is a confirmation of our tight cost control and our agility during this year's challenging market conditions.
"A record order intake was noted for Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, increasing by 15% yoy, with a continued strong momentum in equipment and improved performance in the aftermarket business. During the quarter, we announced the deal to acquire the market-leading safety solutions company DSI Underground … an important step in our overall growth ambition."
Sandvik's 2020 sales were SEK86,404 million (US$10.44 billion) versus SEK103.23 billion (US$11.1 billion) in 2019. Group profit improved in the latest year, by 2% to SEK8.72 billion, despite a big COVID-19 impact on activities, due to severe cost cutting.
Sandvik MRT sales were down 11% in 2020 to SEK40.3 billion (US$4.84 billion), though the December-quarter's US$1.31 billion was tracking back near 2019 quarterly sales levels.
Overall, Sandvik's engineering, energy, construction and aerospace businesses were negatively affected by COVID and market conditions in 2020, while automotive was flat.
DSI, owned by UK-based investment firm Triton Partners for the past nine years, was projected to turn over about EUR518 million (US$630 million) in 2020 compared with EUR534 million in 2019.
Sandvik's acquisition is expected to close mid-year, subject to regulatory approvals.
The Stockholm-listed company (STO: SAND) is capitalised at US$33.01 billion, with its shares up about 7.3% this month.