Best fiscal year in Schuler’s history

    Sales grow by 28 percent to € 1.23 billion, Ebitda by almost 40 percent to € 118 million – further earnings growth announced for 2012/13

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    The Schuler Group has posted excellent figures for the past fiscal year 2011/12 (ending September 30) with strong growth in sales and earnings. The press manufacturer raised sales by 27.9 percent to € 1.23 billion, thus almost doubling revenues within two years. Operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) rose by 39.5 percent to € 118.3 million. The Ebitda margin, i.e. the ratio of operating profit to sales, improved from 8.8 to 9.6 percent. The Group profit more than doubled year on year to € 51.8 million. “The past fiscal year was the best in our 173-year history,” explained Schuler CEO Stefan Klebert on presentation of the company’s annual results.

    Schuler once again displayed strong growth of 29.9 percent to € 401.2 million in Asia, which accounts for the largest share of sales. In Germany, the company posted sales of € 394.9 million, representing growth of 33.0 percent. The rest of Europe contributed € 245.7 million (+61.2 percent) to sales. Business in the Americas fell by 6.9 percent to € 179.8 million. Strong demand – in particular from car manufacturers and their suppliers for Schuler’s ServoDirect Technology – resulted in new orders of € 1.3 billion. This corresponds almost exactly to the prior-year record figure of € 1.32 billion.

    Positive outlook for current fiscal year

    “We want to follow up these healthy prior-year sales and earnings figures in 2012/13,” stressed Klebert. The company anticipates sales of around € 1.2 billion in fiscal year 2012/13. The record year-end order backlog of € 1.1 billion provides a sound basis for this target. The Ebitda margin is expected to rise to almost 10 percent.

    Shareholders are to participate in the past year’s success with a dividend of € 0.25 per share. Should the Annual General Meeting accept the proposal, the dividend payout for fiscal year 2011/12 will rise by 27 percent year on year to € 7.4 million. The company’s employees are to receive a special bonus of up to € 1,000 each. In view of the company’s strong earnings, the Board of Management decided to double the performance bonus compared to last year. Over the past fiscal year, the Group’s global headcount rose by 5.3 percent to 5,443 employees.

    Schuler also reported success with regard to its capital funding. A syndicated loan agreement totaling € 450 million concluded during the economic crisis was replaced by a new agreement with improved terms. The contract, which expires in September 2016, resulted in interest savings of € 15.5 million in fiscal year 2011/12 alone. Due to a capital increase in June 2011 and significantly improved consolidated earnings, the equity ratio rose from 22.9 percent to 27.1 percent. “This proves that the Group has a sound and long-term financial basis,” stated Klebert.

    Schuler has launched the largest investment program of the last ten years with more than € 80 million for the past and current fiscal years. A major focus area is China, which is already the world’s largest market for car sales with tremendous growth potential. As Klebert explains: “Those who fail to establish a significant market share in China are jeopardizing their company’s future existence. We therefore want to establish ourselves in such a way that we can benefit strongly from local growth.” The company is currently tripling production capacity at its Dalian facility to a total floor space of 16,000 square meters. The factory expansion is expected to be completed in spring 2013. Preparations are also under way to expand sales, procurement, and local development capacities at the Shanghai site. Additional service support centers will also be established in several Chinese cities.

    Focus on growth areas

    “Despite the economic slowdown, we have numerous new products in our program to help bolster demand,” states Klebert. The company unveiled its new TwinServo Technology press generation in fall and attracted considerable industry attention. The new press line is more compact, flexible and silent than conventional presses as well as more economical in its energy consumption. In addition to energy efficiency, a further future area for the Group is lightweight construction. Lighter vehicles consume less fuel and produce less CO2. Schuler offers equipment for all manufacturing processes used in lightweight car body construction – an area which also promises further growth.

    The company is developing new markets, such as presses for packaging, large pipes and railway wheels. “The automotive industry is still our core market, though. We believe there is still long-term growth in this sector. The trend for Schuler remains positive,” concluded Klebert.

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