Annual Results 2016: Accelerated growth and higher operating result

Zurich, March 21, 2017 – In an uneven operating environment, the Conzzeta Group generated revenue growth of 6.4%. The operating result (EBIT) was CHF 84.4 million with an EBIT margin of 6.9%, after CHF 75.9 million and 6.7% respectively on the continued business in 2015. Return on net operating assets (RONOA) was 15.6% (previous year: 13.4%).

After a subdued performance in the first six months, the second half of 2016 was exceptionally strong as expected, with revenue growth of 15.5% compared with the second half of 2015 and disproportionately high growth of the operating result. On a comparable basis, i.e. at constant exchange rates and adjusted for changes in the scope of consolidation, revenue grew by 2.6% in 2016. The impact on revenue of the three acquisitions in 2016, Hydra Sponge, DNE Laser and FMG, totaled CHF 47.7 million.

With the acquisition of DNE Laser, Shenzhen (China) and the realization of various growth initiatives, Conzzeta’s business showed disproportionately high growth in the Asia region in 2016, both through acquisitions and organically. Revenue across Asia was up by 31.5%, so that the share in net revenue of the Asia and Others region increased to 24.1%, up from 19.5% in 2015.

The operating result for 2016 included nonrecurring restructuring costs in connection with growth and efficiency measures of CHF 7.9 million, compared with CHF 4.1 million the previous year.

The Group result increased by 7.7% to CHF 63.9 million. Taking into account minority interests in connection with the 51% stake acquired in DNE Laser, Group profit for 2016 was CHF 29.10 per registered share A and CHF 5.82 per registered share B. The Board of Directors is proposing to the Annual General Meeting on April 25, 2017 a 10% higher dividend of CHF 11 per registered share A and CHF 2.20 per registered share B.

The Group generated an operating free cash flow of CHF 76.0 million in 2016, after CHF 70.5 million in the previous year. At the end of the reporting year, the Group had liquid assets of CHF 469.8 million and the equity ratio stood at 75.0%. Conzzeta continues to have a solid balance sheet that will help sustain the future development of its businesses and provide a basis for active shaping of its portfolio.

Segments

In 2016 the Sheet Metal Processing segment (Bystronic) generated net revenue of CHF 652.8 million, a year-on-year rise of 14.3% (previous year: CHF 570.9 million). On a comparable basis, revenue growth was 7.3%. The operating result was CHF 63.0 million (CHF 55.4 million), giving an EBIT margin of 9.7% (9.6%). This included restructuring costs of CHF 4.3 million in connection with the optimization of a site in China. The first half of the year was marked by a muted sales trend, though this was more than offset by a strong second-half performance. Order intake increased significantly year on year. The order book at the end of 2016 was well above the average level. The market environment remained highly competitive and the situation in several markets was challenging owing to political and economic uncertainties. Bystronic nevertheless succeeded in maintaining or increasing revenues overall in the European and American markets, while the sales performance in Asia improved significantly. Various growth initiatives and the acquisition of DNE Laser contributed to this performance. The business targeted investments on strengthening the presence in Asian markets, including Japan, but also in selected European and American markets.

The Sporting Goods segment (Mammut Sports Group) generated net revenue of CHF 233.4 million in 2016, 0.8% down on the previous year (CHF 235.3 million). At constant exchange rates, revenue declined by 2.9%. The operating result was CHF 1.2 million (CHF 0.1 million). Lower revenues, particularly in the core European markets of Switzerland, Germany and Austria (the so-called DACH region), which account for a high proportion of sales, were largely offset by growth in the markets of Asia and parts of Europe outside the DACH region. At year-end, booked orders and advance orders for the summer season were slightly up on the previous year. In Europe and the USA the pressure on the traditional specialist trade structures continued. By contrast, multichannel suppliers and dealers operating exclusively online benefited from the changing pattern of consumer behavior. Price rises for 2016 initiated after the currency turmoil of the previous year as well as astute cost management have been effective. Nevertheless, margin pressure, particularly in the fiercely competitive European market environment, remained strong and was further intensified by the sluggish winter business, which was again affected by unfavorable weather conditions. In 2016 Mammut Sports Group began to implement the five-year strategic program to create sustainable profitable growth. One of the aims is to improve cooperation with major wholesale customers to increase store traffic through more active management of floor space. Digitization and further refining the business model as well as developing specific capabilities as part of the ongoing change process, coupled with the drive to accelerate internationalization, will have an adverse effect on the operating result and operational free cash flow of the Sporting Goods segment for the time being.

The Chemical Specialties segment (FoamPartner and Schmid Rhyner) generated net revenue of CHF 220.6 million in 2016, a rise of 7.9% on the previous year (CHF 204.5 million). On a comparable basis, revenue growth was 4.2%. The operating result was CHF 23.1 million (CHF 18.5 million), giving an EBIT margin of 10.4% (9.1%). Revenue growth was generated in Asia and the USA, the latter thanks to the acquisition of Hydra Sponge in January 2016. Business in Europe showed a flat tendency, though this varied from one product segment to another. The sales dynamic was maintained in the second half of 2016, despite isolated production cuts due to a shortage of raw materials and partially rising commodity prices. The technical foams business recorded broadly based growth across all regions in 2016. Solutions for noise and heat insulation in vehicles and for special filters and functional foams were in particularly high demand. By contrast, it was not possible to maintain revenue in the comfort product segment, which is strongly focused on Switzerland and neighboring countries. FoamPartner reviewed its business strategy in the reporting year and implemented a new organizational structure as per the beginning of 2017, devolving responsibility for results to the regions and establishing three product segments: Mobility, Specialties and Living & Care. In the print finishing product segment, Schmid Rhyner continued the systematic repositioning, initiated in previous years, to focus more on packaging printing. The business was able to offset the continuing decline in revenue in the European market for commercial printing, thanks to innovative Touch & Feel products, coupled with gains in market share in Asia and the Middle East.

The Glass Processing segment (Bystronic glass) generated net revenue of CHF 107.5 million in 2016 (previous year: CHF 119.9 million). On a comparable basis, revenue dropped by 11.2%. The operating result amounted to CHF 1.0 million (CHF 6.4 million) and the EBIT margin was 0.9% (5.6%). The result included restructuring costs of CHF 3.6 million in connection with cost-reduction measures in Europe and global process optimization. Although the architectural glass business increased in Asia and the USA, the growth was not sufficient to fully compensate for declining revenue in Europe in the second half of the year. Nor was the automotive glass product segment able to repeat the very strong performance in 2015, which was boosted by major orders in the USA. The order intake came in lower than the previous year after flattening off in the second half of 2016, while the order book at year-end was slightly higher. Partly due to efficiency measures, Bystronic glass returned to profitability in 2015 after several years of losses. In spite of this, a comprehensive review completed in mid-2016 highlighted the need for further action to secure sustainable value creation. In the second half of the reporting year, additional measures aimed at creating a more flexible cost base were introduced as previously announced. More efficient, global processes should shorten lead times by the end of 2017 and will also help to deal with fluctuations in the order intake by increasing the flexibility of capacity utilization while reducing staffing levels at the international production locations. Parallel to the efficiency measures, the focus in 2016 was on the continuation of ongoing innovation activities. Worldwide efforts to curb climate change with increasing regulations to conserve resources are expected to boost the demand for energy-efficient architectural glass and thin, lightweight automotive glass in the long term. To broaden the geographical spread of growth opportunities, a particular effort in 2016 was on the development of the Chinese market.

Trends and outlook

At year-end the order book for capital goods and customer activity were at a higher level than the previous year. All of the Conzzeta Group’s business units are working on the realization of differentiated plans whose objectives are to accelerate growth and to increase profitability on a sustainable basis. In the medium term, the benchmark is the Group’s ambition to achieve revenue growth in excess of 5%, an EBIT margin of 8% to 10% and a return on net operating assets of over 15%. Consistent with the Group strategy, an appropriate contribution to the result is expected from every business unit. For the time being, the Sporting Goods business unit will fall short of the set targets during implementation of the ongoing multi-year strategy program as will the Glass Processing business unit, where the current restructuring measures are due to be completed by the end of 2017. Conzzeta’s overall assessment of the present operating environment with its political and macro-economic uncertainties is that it will tend to be vulnerable to fluctuations and continue to show regional differences. In addition, the business performance will be strongly influenced by the specific market environment of each individual area of activity. In view of the uncertainties mentioned above and the different contributions of the business units, Conzzeta expects to achieve organic revenue growth in 2017 and a higher operating result with a slightly improved EBIT margin.

For further information please contact:
Michael Stäheli, Head Investor Relations & Corporate Communications
Phone +41 44 468 24 84
media@conzzeta.com

About Conzzeta
Conzzeta is a broadly diversivied Swiss group of companies. It stands for innovation, reliability and a long-term perspective. Conzzeta strives for leading positions in its target markets, above-average growth and long-term value creation. Over 4000 employees at more than 60 locations worldwide are dedicated to offering customers innovative solutions in Sheet Metal Processing, Sporting Goods, Foam Materials, Graphic Coatings and Glass Processing. Conzzeta AG is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SIX:CON).


 

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