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Strong growth in Asia

The press manufacturer Schuler recorded growth in new orders of 2.6 percent to € 1.19 billion in its fiscal year 2014. “We achieved significant growth in Asia, including one of the largest orders in our 175-year history. We also received major orders in new market segments, such as equipment for the production of large pipes,” stated Schuler’s CEO Stefan Klebert at the presentation of the company’s annual results in Stuttgart. The Asian market accounted for 34.1 percent of total new orders and was thus the second-largest sales market after Europe (45.9 percent).

Schuler is confident about its prospects for the current fiscal year. With an order backlog of over one billion euros and a good level of project activity around the world, the company expects further sales growth. “The strict continuation of our strategic program ‘Growing Together 2.0’ aimed at raising efficiency and optimizing cost structures has helped strengthen our competitive edge,” added Klebert. At the end of the reporting period, Schuler employed 5,423 people. The 2.8 percent decline reflects the streamlining of production and administration, above all in Germany.

Profitability increased – net financial status doubled

With stable sales of € 1.18 billion, Schuler posted increased earnings in its past fiscal year 2014. The operating result (Ebita) rose by 3.0 percent to € 104.1 million and the Ebita margin improved to 8.8 percent. The Göppingen-based company thus easily exceeded its original forecast (€ 1.1 billion and an Ebita margin of 6 to 7 percent), which was upgraded during the year on the back of strong business figures and positive one-off effects from the virtually completed efficiency enhancement program. Group profit after tax increased by € 5.2 million to € 66.9 million.

Net financial status (cash and cash equivalents less financial liabilities) improved from € 202.2 to € 403.9 million. Shareholders’ equity increased from € 302.0 to € 322.0 million with an equity ratio of 28.6 percent. “It is now around the 30%-mark. This is our target to ensure a sound long-term financial base for Schuler,” explained CFO Norbert Broger. In line with the company’s dividend policy of reinvesting profits, the dividend payout is expected to remain unchanged from last year at € 3.3 million or 0.11 cents per share.

Largest investment program in years

As part of an extensive investment program totaling over € 90 million, Schuler invested around six million euros in a new large drilling machine center at its Erfurt facility in 2014. In Göppingen, Schuler is building a Technology and Development Center. At over € 40 million, it is the Group’s largest single investment. The new building will provide 750 modern working places and is due to be completed in 2017. A further new building planned for Göppingen is the Research and Training Center for Press Hardening – a lightweight construction process for automotive manufacturing. In Tianjin, 150 kilometers south-east of Beijing, Schuler is building a demonstration center for ten million euros “as there is growing interest in China for presses with our modern ServoDirect Technology,” stated Klebert. It will be one of eight customer centers operated by Schuler around the world.

Schuler aims to conquer mid-price segment

China plays a central role in the company’s strategy and is the source of one third of its revenues. Schuler aims to serve the mid-price segment in Asia better in future “as we see huge growth potential here,” said Klebert. In fall 2014, Schuler unveiled an automatic blanking press (MSC-2000) for this segment and recently launched a project to build an 800-metric-ton servo press for the local market in China.

Energy efficiency and sustainability are further key topics of Schuler’s product development. All new machines introduced in the past year boasted 20 to 60 percent energy savings compared to their predecessors. A latest-generation servo press line, for example, consumes around 50 percent less energy than the first generation – a saving comparable to the annual consumption of around 750 four-person households. Schuler recently received the Supplier Award of Daimler AG in the innovation category for its “pioneering press lines with particular flexibility and precision”.


 

Schuler Group at a glance (IFRS)1:

   

01/01 -12/31/2014

10/01/2012- 09/30/2013

Sales

€ million

1,178.5

1,185.9

New orders

€ million

1,193.7

1,163.3

Order backlog 2

€ million

1,057.9

1,087.9

Ebita

€ million

   

Ebit

€ million

   

Ebt

€ million

   

Group profit

€ million

   

Ebita margin

%

   

Cash flow from operating activities

€ million

   

Total statement of financial positions2

€ million

1,125.8

 

Shareholders’ equity2

€ million

   

Equity ratio2

%

   

Net financial status2

€ million

   

ROCE

%

38,8

28,4

Employees3

persons

5,423

5,580

1  In 2014, Schuler changed its fiscal year to the calendar year. 2013 was therefore a short fiscal year. The last twelve-month fiscal year was 2012/13.

2At the end of the reporting period December 31, 2014 or September 30, 2013;

3 Including apprentices

Click here for the full interim announcement:

http://www.schulergroup.com/investor_relations/finanzberichte/index.html?sLang=en

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