Schuler sets new records

    Strong first quarter in 2011/12 confirms annual guidance of 15 percent sales growth to at least € 1.1 billion and Ebitda margin of 9 percent - Record investment program of around € 50 million and expansion in China - Record figures in 2010/11: new orders worth € 1.32 billion (+61.2 percent), sales of € 958.5 million (+47.4 percent), Ebitda of € 84.6 million (+182 percent)

    Göppingen/Stuttgart (Germany), January 25, 2012 – Business is developing at high pace for Schuler AG. The SDax-listed company expects to post new orders of around € 390 million in the first quarter of its current fiscal year 2011/12. Orders were higher than in the three preceding quarters. Sales in the first three months reached approximately € 276 million (previous year € 178 million). The company will be publishing its complete quarterly figures in late February 2012.

    Current fiscal year on target

    “Business continues to run very smoothly for Schuler, we’ve been able to seamlessly continue our past record year,” stated Schuler CEO Stefan Klebert at the presentation of detailed figures for fiscal year 2010/11, ending September 30, 2011. At the same time, he confirmed the company’s guidance for its current fiscal year. The press manufacturer expects sales to increase to at least € 1.1 billion in fiscal year 2011/12 with further growth in its operating result. An Ebitda margin of 9 percent is forecast. “The new order level remains strong and our order backlog of over one billion euros provides a great buffer. Our task now is to work through these orders,” adds Klebert.

    Largest investment program for ten years

    Schuler sees great potential in the growing markets of Asia, in the expansion of its existing business fields, and in its new product developments – at least ten of which are expected to be launched in 2012. Moreover, the Group is planning its largest investment program of the past ten years with capital expenditures of around € 50 million, for example in new machinery and information technology.

    Around one third of total investments are earmarked for the expansion of activities in China. “We expect that Asia will continue to drive growth in our most important sales market, the automotive industry. We already generate one third of our total sales in this region,” explained Klebert. Schuler is therefore expanding its existing assembly capacities in the North Chinese city of Dalian and will be processing large machine parts there in future. At its Shanghai facility, Schuler aims to strengthen its sales, purchasing and engineering divisions and will expand its after-sales service in numerous provinces.

    The Group’s Service division, which accounts for almost a quarter of total sales, is also a strong growth area for Schuler. The company expanded and realigned its operations in this field in 2011. As demand for expert services continues to grow, the Group sees opportunities to expand its current approximately 20 percent share of the Service market significantly.

    Strong rise in sales and earnings during 2010/11

    Schuler’s order position made very strong progress in fiscal year 2010/11. New orders grew in comparison to the previous year by 61.2 percent to € 1.32 billion – the highest level in over 170 years of business. Growth in new orders was particularly strong in Asia (+37.7 percent), Germany (+60.3 percent) and other parts of Europe (+343.7 percent).

    Consolidated sales rose by 47.4 percent to € 958.5 million. Sales outside Germany grew by 55.2 percent to € 661.6 million. In Asia, sales almost doubled to € 308.8 million, accounting for 32.2 percent of total revenues. Sales to customers in Germany increased by 32.5 percent to reach € 297.0 million. In the rest of Europe, sales climbed to € 152.4 million (+43.0 percent), while sales in the Americas rose by 24.8 percent to € 193.1 million.

    Strongly positive change

    Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) almost tripled year on year to € 84.6 million. “We targeted an Ebitda margin of 7 percent and had to raise our guidance twice. We are very satisfied to have reached 8.8 percent,” explains CFO Marcus Ketter. Earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) leapt from € 17.1 to € 54.2 million. At € 23.9 million, there was also a strongly positive change in the Group’s profit for the year. In the previous year, the Group was still posting a loss of € 11.8 million. At the presentation of the Group’s annual financial statements, Ketter spoke of a level of profitability “which Schuler has not enjoyed in years”. As of fiscal year 2013/14, Schuler plans to achieve stable sales of over € 1.2 billion and an Ebitda margin of 10 percent. At the Annual General Meeting end of April 2012, the Board of Management and Supervisory Board of Schuler AG will propose a dividend payment for the fiscal year 2010/11 of € 5,8 million (25 cents per no-par value share WKN A0V 9A2 and 12 cents per no-par value share WKN 721060).

    Equity ratio of 23 percent

    As a result of the capital increase and positive consolidated result, equity capital increased by € 89.6 to € 206.4 million. Despite a strong rise in the total statement of financial positions, the equity ratio improved from 16.1 to 23.0 percent. In the medium term, Schuler aims to achieve an equity ratio of 30 percent. This is part of the strategy and growth program “Growing Together” launched in 2011, which aims to enhance Schuler’s long-term profitability and protect it against future economic crises.

    Strategies for sustainable growth

    Klebert also spoke about the company’s future strategy. “In addition to the successful placement of our capital increase, a further success was the five-year syndicated loan agreement which we concluded with greatly improved terms and which will save us over € 10 million a year in interest. Both provide a solid financial basis for future growth.” In the period under review, Schuler’s internal strategy and growth program also helped enhance the Group’s overall efficiency. For example, the machine tool manufacturer has defined ten target markets on which it intends to focus in future. Schuler sees great opportunities, for example, to increase its sales of presses to the Packaging Technology, Large Pipes and Aerospace industries.

    Moderate increase in headcount

    At the end of September 2011, the press manufacturer employed 5,168 people around the world. This corresponded to an increase in headcount of 4 percent. Most of these new jobs were created outside Germany, where headcount grew by 11.5 percent to 1,147. However, the majority of staff are still employed in Germany (4,021 employees), where headcount grew by 2 percent.