Schuler still on track for success

    Leap in sales and earnings during third quarter 2011/12. Net profit almost tripled after nine months.

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    The strong growth in sales of press manufacturer Schuler results mainly from its new machine business, such as this press with ServoDirect Technology

    Following a strong third quarter, the Schuler Group succeeded in raising both sales and earnings in the first nine months of its fiscal year 2011/12. Compared to the same period last year, sales grew by 33.2 percent to € 877.8 million. In the third quarter alone, Schuler exceeded its high prior-year figure by 16.2 percent with sales of € 297.0 million. As in the preceding quarters, Asia and Germany were the Group’s strongest regions in terms of sales.

    As expected, new orders fell slightly due to the exceptional level of the previous year when manufacturers were still catching up on postponed investments. At € 1,046.3 million, orders were down 6.7 percent year on year in the first nine months. The order backlog, however, was 16.3 percent up on year-end 2010/11 (September 30, 2011) with a total volume of € 1,204.2 million as of June 30, 2012.

    Adjusted earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) for the first nine months improved by 45.6 percent to € 83.6 million with an Ebitda margin of 9.5 percent. Earnings before taxes and interest (Ebit) rose by 67.3 percent to € 67.6 million. Interest savings from the improved conditions of the syndicated loan agreed in 2011 meant that growth in net profit was even stronger. The Schuler Group’s consolidated profit almost tripled to € 34.1 million, compared with € 12.3 million in the previous year.

    “The strong overall improvement in earnings not only resulted from higher sales revenues but also from our corporate strategy for sustainable and profitable growth. The entire Group has consistently implemented this program with great success over the past 18 months,” states Schuler CEO Stefan Klebert in his assessment of the latest quarterly figures.

    Thanks to the Group’s strong earnings – and despite a 3.0 percent increase in total assets – the equity ratio rose from 23.0 percent as of September 30, 2011 to 25.9 percent. The Schuler Group’s net liquidity improved slightly to € 139.1 million (September 30, 2011: € 137.8 million).

    New major shareholder, unchanged business strategy

    The third quarter of 2011/12 is also a milestone in the company’s 173-year history. In late May 2012, the founding family Schuler-Voith sold its share package – totaling 38.5% – to the Austrian technology group Andritz. The latter has made an unsolicited takeover bid of € 20.00 per share to the remaining shareholders. In a joint statement on July 12, 2012, the Board of Management and Supervisory Board unanimously declared that they regarded the offering price as financially appropriate and recommended shareholders to accept the offer.

    The acceptance period for the Andritz Group’s takeover offer for shares of Schuler AG ended on August 13, 2012. As of this date, the offer had been accepted for a total of 3,095,693 Schuler shares. This corresponds to around 10.43 percent of share capital. The extended acceptance period, which began on August 17, 2012, runs until the end of August 30, 2012. In the meantime, Andritz has also acquired 24.99 percent of shares issued by Schuler. All in all, Andritz currently has access to approximately 73.93 percent of shares, whereby the 38.5 percent from the Schuler-Voith purchase and the 10.43 percent from the takeover bid are still subject to approval from the respective anti-trust authorities. The company based in Graz, Austria, is thus the largest shareholder of Schuler AG.

    “We regard Andritz’s interest in Schuler as confirmation of our business strategy and will thus continue on this course. Schuler is a highly successful company and we aim to enhance our current market standing,” states Klebert. The Göppingen-based company has confirmed its forecast for fiscal year 2011/12. Consolidated sales of the world’s largest press manufacturer are still expected to grow to around € 1.2 billion in fiscal year 2011/12. In terms of operating profit, the Group anticipates an Ebitda margin of around 9.5 percent in the current fiscal year.

    Schuler expects new orders to reach around € 1.3 billion in 2011/12. This amount would correspond to the record figure of the previous year. In view of the global economic risks and current slowdown, it is uncertain whether this will also be possible in the next fiscal year. “An important indicator will be our most important trade fair, the EuroBLECH, in Hanover at the end of October 2012. We will be showing a host of new developments with which we aim to underline our innovative edge and leading position on the global market,” concludes Klebert.

    Schuler Group at a glance:

    9 month
    9 month
    (September 30)
    Sales € million 877.8 659.2 958.5
    New orders € million 1,046.3 1,122.0 1,319.0
    Order backlog 1 € million 1,204.2 1,138.0 1,035.7
    EBITDA € million 83.6 57.4 84.6
    EBIT € million 67.6 40.4 54.2
    EBT € million 54.6 17.3 22.2
    Group profit € million 34.1 12.3 23.9
    Equity ratio % 25.9 15.5 23.0
    Capex 1,2 € million 17.0 6.0 9.6
    Employees 1,3 5,347 5,067 5,168

    1 At the end of the reporting period
    2 Investment in tangible and intangible assets
    3 Including apprentices