Christian Wendler, Lenze's CEO, said on the release of the 2019/2020 Annual Report: "We have placed our annual report under the motto "thinking beyond". For us, "thinking beyond" means breaking new ground in factory automation and courageously taking the future into our own hands. We at Lenze have been acting according to this maxim for more than 70 years.
This attitude of focusing on opportunities and not on crises once again paid off for us. Lenze can therefore look back on a dynamic, eventful and overall good financial year 2019/2020. It was characterized by worldwide customer successes with our range of integrated, scalable complete solutions for the entire life cycle of a machine. In addition to our mechatronic drive packages, automation systems and cloud services, it is above all our tools with which we are taking digital engineering to a new level. With the new Easy System Designer (ESD), a web-based tool for the complete planning of machine solutions, we once again demonstrate our strength as a solution provider for Industry 4.0 and IIoT.
It provides the key to the most pressing challenges in plant and mechanical engineering, namely to develop highly flexible, modular and powerful machines with ever shorter time-to-market and to minimize or even completely avoid costly downtime through concepts such as digital twin or condition monitoring.
However, the excellent progress made in expanding our systems and digital business in the past financial year was overshadowed by an increasingly difficult economic environment and, in the fourth quarter, by the effects of the corona pandemic. With sales of 724 million Euro, we were therefore unable to match the record results of previous years. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to 43.3 million Euro in fiscal year 2019/2020. Our equity ratio remains at a consistently high level of over 60%. Even in turbulent times, we provide forward orientation and remain capable of entrepreneurial action at all times.
Our Strategy 2020+ and our FIT2020+ performance program will support us in this. The investment program to modernize and improve the operational excellence of our global production network in line with Industry 4.0 is still in full swing. At the Extertal site, we are planning the inauguration of the Mechatronic Competence Campus (MCC) for our anniversary year 2022. Electronic manufacturing in Groß Berkel in Lower Saxony is also part of the investment initiative. We are also investing in expanding the skills of our employees. As a family-owned company, we want to create sustainable, lasting value and play a leading role in the digitalization of industry. This requires a highly qualified team.
We are convinced that the CoVid-19 crisis will accelerate the transformation of our industry. On the one hand, this is a major challenge, because it also means that we must press ahead with the restructuring of our company in order to be able to react even faster to changes in the future. On the other hand, the changed market also offers many opportunities for Lenze.
The current fiscal year 2020/2021 is enormously challenging, especially against the background of the corona pandemic. Although we will consistently pursue the development of the systems business, the focus will be on stabilizing our market position, personnel and material flexibility, cost restraint and liquidity management. Thanks to our solid asset and financial position, we are well positioned to master these efforts.
We take a positive view of the medium-term future. Lenze is successfully developing into an integrated system house with unique domain expertise in the field of drive technology that has been built up over decades. We can therefore say with confidence that machine and plant manufacturers who want to automate and network their production efficiently, flexibly and using state-of-the-art technology will not be able to avoid Lenze in the future".