Annual Results 2015: Solid performance in demanding environment

Zurich, March 22, 2016. – The Conzzeta Group returned an operating result (EBIT) of CHF 80.8 million for 2015 in a challenging operating environment. The EBIT margin was 7.1%. Net revenue on a comparable basis amounted to CHF 1140.8 million, 1.7% up on the previous year. Overall, the result was in line with expectations since marked exchange rate fluctuations had required measures to cushion adverse sales and profitability effects already in early 2015. During the year, further steps were taken as planned to continue the transformation of the Conzzeta Group and to lay important foundations for future growth.

The Conzzeta Group generated net revenue of CHF 1140.8 million in 2015 (previous year CHF 1195.7 million). The decline in net revenue is mainly attributable to adverse currency effects amounting to CHF 53.5 million. On a comparable basis, i.e. at constant exchange rates and adjusted for changes in the scope of consolidation (in particular disposal ixmation in 2014 and spin-off of the Real Estate segment in 2015), net revenue grew by 1.7% in 2015. In regional terms, net revenue grew in the Americas, buoyed by an improving economy in the USA and the stronger US dollar. In Switzerland and the Europe region, the weakening of the euro against the Swiss franc was most apparent, while in Asian markets the economic uncertainties had an adverse impact on sales performance in the second half of the year.


The operating result in 2015 amounted to CHF 80.8 million (CHF 104.3 million) and the EBIT margin was 7.1% (8.7%). The previous year included released provisions for inherited environmental liabilities amounting to CHF 10.5 million. After taking account of this effect for the purpose of comparison, the adjusted operating result for 2014 was CHF 93.8 million and the EBIT margin 7.8%. On a comparable basis, the 2015 operating result was 11.7% lower than the previous year after adjustment. The lower result reflects first and foremost margin pressure from the unfavorable currency trends in context with the discontinuation of the minimum euro rate by the Swiss National Bank. Related one-time adverse valuation effects of CHF 9.1 million and restructuring costs of CHF 4.1 million were largely offset by one-time short-term cost-saving measures. Finally, higher costs arising from the targeted expansion of the business activities were also recorded in fiscal 2015.


The Group result for 2015 came in at CHF 59.3 million, 3.4% lower than the previous year (CHF 61.4 million). The previous year’s figure included the disposal loss of CHF 26.3 million from the divestment of the Automation Systems business unit (ixmation), which was recognized as an extraordinary result. The financial result in 2015 was CHF 7.4 million down on the previous year, mainly because of lower income and currency losses. Tax expense in 2015 was CHF 5.9 million lower year on year, primarily due to a lower ordinary result and positive effects from the change in tax loss carryforwards.


Group profit for 2015 was CHF 28.65 per registered share A, compared with CHF 31.00 the previous year (adjusted for the share split on June 22, 2015, and the capital reduction in conjunction with the spin-off of the Real Estate business unit). In keeping with a consistent dividend policy, the Board of Directors is proposing to the Annual General Meeting on April 26, 2016, a dividend of CHF 10 per registered share A and CHF 2 per registered share B.

 

Continuation of strategy process


The spin-off of the Real Estate business unit in the summer of 2015 continued the transformation of the Conzzeta Group as planned. This also completed the reorganization of ownership and control, which saw the free float of category A registered shares listed on the Swiss Exchange increase to 80%. The currency turmoil and subsequent measures to cushion its adverse effects demanded a greater focus on operational development in the business units during the 2015 business year. Nevertheless, the Board of Directors continued with the strategy process started in 2014 and formalized the Group strategy:
 

  • Conzzeta is developing a business portfolio in markets with potential for above average growth and sustainable value creation by securing leading positions in its target markets.
  • Innovative solutions for our clients, regional expansion and operational excellence combine to provide long-term returns in the top quartile of the respective peer groups. Conzzeta supports its individual business units in creating their unique value proposition and helps management realize ambitious targets.
  • Conzzeta aims to ensure its business units are “best choice” for customers. All business units contribute to meeting the Group targets, balancing the Group portfolio in terms both of diversified business cycles and geographical footprint.
  • The Group seeks value creation above cost of capital with a solid balance sheet and professional risk management. It envisages a pay-out ratio of between one third and half of the annual profit, in consideration of the economic situation and Conzzeta’s outlook.


The Board of Directors engages in a continuous and systematic evaluation of the long-term prospects of the business units, applying the criteria of innovation potential, growth prospects and value creation. Conzzeta strives for accelerated growth in its markets and will continue to develop its business portfolio in a disciplined way, with a particular emphasis on long-term value generation. The business units fulfill the strategic criteria in different ways. The comprehensive review of the Glass Processing business unit (Bystronic glass), announced in March 2015, is continuing, even though the business unit returned to profit in the 2015 business year. In the Sporting Goods segment (Mammut Sports Group), the challenging business environment in 2015 highlighted the importance of the sales region Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Mammut is developing new models of cooperation with important wholesale customers aimed at increasing store traffic in the coming years. It also plans to push ahead with further internationalization of the business (see segment report below). The Sheet Metal Processing business unit (Bystronic) continued to fine-tune the basis for automation and intelligent networking of machinery and systems in production lines. Scalable sheet metal processing systems and the progressive informatization of manufacturing (industry 4.0) are opening up new possibilities for Bystronic to offer customers all-round support to optimize their production processes.


Segments


The Sheet Metal Processing segment generated net revenue of CHF 570.9 million in 2015 (previous year CHF 580.7 million). On a comparable basis, net revenue growth was 3.8%. The operating result was CHF 55.4 million (CHF 54.3 million), giving an EBIT margin of 9.6% (9.3%). Bystronic achieved modest improvements in market share during 2015 thanks to its innovative range of services. At the same time, profitability improved slightly as a result of effective cost management and the proportionally high level of procurement in the euro zone. A further contributing factor was the development of business in the USA, which saw strong volume growth and positive currency effects. Despite marked volume growth in Europe, it was impossible to maintain the level of net revenue owing to adverse currency effects, while demand in Asia, above all in China, slowed.


The Sporting Goods segment generated net revenue of CHF 235.3 million in 2015 (previous year CHF 249.9 million). On a comparable basis, net revenue dropped by 1.7%. Lower sales in Europe were partly offset by solid growth in North America and China. The operating result was CHF 0.1 million (CHF 20.8 million). Among the factors contributing to this result were pronounced currency shifts, which had a negative impact on the proportionally high level of sales in the euro zone, as well as on the Swiss market, where price reductions had to be granted; while the cost of procurement, which is largely denominated in US dollars, increased. A further negative factor was the widespread mild winter weather, with low snowfall. In addition, growth in the outdoor activities market declined amid signs of market saturation and increasing competitive pressure, particularly in the core European markets of Switzerland, Germany and Austria (the so-called DACH region), which accounts for more than 50% of sales volume. Mammut Sports Group has a presence in other significant outdoor activities markets, but is underrepresented overall. Mammut responded to the unfavorable development of business in 2015 with short- and medium-term measures. These included the divestment as per mid-2016 of the rope-making business, which operated under increasing economic pressure, and the concentration and regionalization of the sales organization. The operating result was adversely affected by restructuring costs of CHF 2.4 million. To take advantage of growth opportunities, a strategic program was designed to run for five years. In this context, Mammut is investing in cooperation with important wholesale customers and increasing store traffic through more active management of sales space. It also plans to broaden its geographical footprint by expanding its international multi-channel sales network. This will entail strengthening the online channel and opening further mono-brand stores. Part of the strategy is to make greater use of customer potential in the outdoor activities market, without compromising on the “absolute alpine” claim. The implementation of the program will have an adverse effect on the operating result and operational free cash flow of the Sporting Goods segment in the years ahead.


The Chemical Specialties segment (FoamPartner and Schmid Rhyner) generated net revenue of CHF 204.5 million in 2015 (previous year CHF 219.2 million). The acoustic foam specialist Benien – which was acquired in 2014 and integrated in the course of 2015 – was fully consolidated for the first time over the full 12 months of the reporting period. On a comparable basis, net revenue was 6.3% lower. The operating result was CHF 18.5 million (CHF 23.8 million), giving an EBIT margin of 9.1% (10.8%). In Switzerland and in the generally stagnating European market the further tightening of competitive pressure and negative consequences of exchange rate movements were apparent. Lower net revenue in Europe was partly offset by net revenue growth in North America. The operating result included restructuring costs of CHF 1.7 million.


The Glass Processing segment generated net revenue of CHF 119.9 million in 2015 (previous year CHF 109.5 million). On a comparable basis, net revenue growth was 13.9%. The operating result was CHF 6.4 million (CHF -5.1 million), which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 5.6% (-4.4%). The business made a welcome return to profitability after several years of losses. A strongly improved sales performance, implementation of restructuring measures, as well as general measures to increase efficiency, contributed to this result. The first half year was influenced by a series of major orders in North America for the automotive glass business. Order intake in the architectural glass business in Europe was strong in the second half. Business in the Asian markets, by contrast, advanced only hesitantly. Above all the consciously benefit-oriented sales arguments presented to customers and the high level of service availability have enabled Bystronic glass to acquire new customers and gain a greater share of the European architectural glass market.


Trends and outlook


In 2015 all Conzzeta business units developed concrete measures for implementing their strategic objectives. With the strong footprint in Europe as a base, there are attractive opportunities for the longer term to broaden the regional presence in North America and Asia. With an innovative product portfolio and a sound equity ratio of 78.6%, the Conzzeta Group is well placed to achieve the long-term goals of the growth initiatives it has defined. Although the structural efficiency measures agreed in 2015 should begin to take effect in 2016, the expansion phase in the Sporting Goods business unit will initially have an adverse impact on the Group result, although with the prospects of attaining a market positioning on a broader international footing. In the short term, the business performance will be strongly influenced by the specific market environment of each individual area of activity. Growing macroeconomic uncertainties and the corrections in financial markets are inhibiting overall economic development at the moment. Compared with the healthy situation the previous year, the order books for capital goods at Conzzeta Group companies were somewhat lower at the end of 2015, although in the USA the upturn continued. The macroeconomic development means Conzzeta is cautious in its assessment of the prospects for 2016. In the current situation moderate growth is expected, with a slight improvement in the profitability at EBIT level compared with 2015.


 

Further step towards strategic transformation

Zurich, November 10, 2020 – Conzzeta reports the signing of a binding agreement to divest its FoamPartner business unit to Recticel, the Belgium specialist in polyurethane chemistry, headquartered in Brussels and listed on Euronext (REC), for an enterprise value of CHF 270 million. The closing of the transaction is expected in the first quarter 2021, subject to regulatory approval.

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Conzzeta Capital Markets Day: Bystronic to push innovation and market positions

Zurich, November 10, 2020 – Ernst Baertschi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Conzzeta, will host today’s virtual Conzzeta capital markets day. Conzzeta Group CEO Michael Willome will provide an update of the Group’s strategic transformation. Bystronic CEO Alex Waser with part of his management team will present Bystronic’s strategy.

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Climbing with refugees: MAMMUT becomes a partner of the non-profit organization ClimbAID

Seon, November 5, 2020 – Mammut has entered into a partnership with the non-profit organization ClimbAID to work together on humanitarian projects allowing refugees to discover the joy of climbing. United by their shared passion for mountain sports and climbing, Mammut and the Swiss non-profit organization ClimbAID are embarking on a partnership designed to allow people affected by war, poverty and displacement to discover the joy of climbing. This long-term cooperation will focus on the implementation of humanitarian projects in Switzerland, Lebanon, Greece and beyond.

 
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