Strong figures make Schuler confident for 2014

    1 / 6

    Schuler is the only manufacturer which can supply technologies and automated press systems for all major forming processes used in lightweight manufacturing, such as hydraulic presses for the manufacture of carbon fiber parts.

    • Earnings in 2012/13 up 19 percent
    • Sales at prior-year level
    • Further expansion of global presence

    In its past fiscal year 2012/13 (ending September 30), the press manufacturer Schuler achieved further growth in earnings. Compared to the previous year, the operating profit (EBITDA) rose by 4 percent to € 123.0 million. As a result, the EBITDA margin exceeded the ten-percent-mark to stand at 10.4 percent. The consolidated profit increased by 19.1 percent to € 61.7 million. In addition to the improved operating profit, this was also due to a significant improvement in the interest result. At € 1.19 billion, sales were on a par with the prior-year figure of € 1.23 billion. “We were thus able to seamlessly continue the records set in the two preceding years,” explained Schuler’s CEO Stefan Klebert at the annual press conference in Stuttgart, Germany. “This represents a solid start to our 175th anniversary which begins in 2014,” added Klebert.

    Tapping new market segments

    At € 1.16 billion, new orders were on the same level as sales and 10.6 percent below the prior-year figure. At the beginning of the year, new orders were expected to fall to between € 1.0 and € 1.1 billion, as the previous year was marked by catch-up effects and large-scale projects typical for the plant construction industry. “However, we were able to successfully enter new market segments outside the automotive industry,” explained Klebert with reference to major strategic orders, such as equipment for the railway industry. Orders also focused on machines for improving energy efficiency and for lightweight vehicle construction. At the end of the fiscal year, the order backlog was virtually unchanged from the previous year at € 1.1 billion. 

    Equity strengthened

    As a result of the positive earnings trend, shareholders’ equity rose by € 57.4 million to € 302.0 million. “With an equity ratio of 30.3 percent, we now have a solid equity base,” summarized CFO Norbert Broger. “Just three years ago, the ratio was only half this figure,” he added. Due to the year-on-year increase in operative cash flow, net liquidity doubled to € 202.2 million. As in the previous year, the company plans to distribute a dividend of € 3.3 million. According to the proposal made by the Board of Management and Supervisory Board, this would correspond to a dividend of 11 cents per share.

    Extensive investment program

    “Thanks to our moderate dividend policy, we have the possibility to invest almost all our earnings to safeguard and expand our company. This will enable us to drive the further modernization of Schuler,” explained the CEO with reference to the increase in capital expenditures in fiscal year 2012/13 from € 26.2 to € 31.4 million. One major focus area of strategic investment was the expansion of the company’s Chinese facility in Dalian. Schuler tripled its production capacity here to 16,000 square meters. Just one month ago, Schuler announced the largest single investment in the Group’s history: the planned Technology Center in Göppingen, Germany, for around € 40 million is “a visible sign that Germany will remain our home base,” stated Klebert. The new complex will offer over 750 modern workplaces. At the end of the fiscal year, Schuler employed 5,580 people around the world – corresponding to year-on-year growth in headcount of 2.5 percent. The Group took on 11 percent more apprentices, taking their total to 353.

    Sales to remain high in 2014

    The Board of Management is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for 2014, even though the market is suffering from uncertainties such as the sovereign debt crisis and restrained capital spending in key sales markets. As Schuler is changing its fiscal year to the calendar year from 2014 onwards, the Göppingen-based company expects sales revenue of € 250 to € 300 million in the current short fiscal period from October 1 to December 31, 2013. Consolidated sales in fiscal year 2014 are expected to reach about € 1.1 billion. “We will therefore continue to operate at a high and stable level,” stated CFO Broger.
    As already announced in late October, Schuler is adapting its structures as part of its group-wide “Growing Together 2.0” program in order to become more efficient and global. In addition to the already completed downsizing of the Board of Management and second-tier management level, several German subsidiaries are to be merged. The concept also involves streamlining manufacturing operations and centralizing administrative tasks. This will affect 350 jobs in Germany over the medium term. The redundancies will be made in a socially responsible way where ever possible.

     Costs of approximately € 50 million have been earmarked for the corporate restructuring process, of which around € 35 million are expected to be incurred in the short fiscal year 2013. Schuler anticipates annual cost savings in the coming fiscal years of € 15 to € 20 million. This will result in negative EBITA in the short fiscal year. It is also unlikely that the EBITA margin will be able to match the figure of 2012/13 in 2014.

    Following the implementation of the restructuring measures, Schuler aims to achieve its targeted EBITA margin to return to 8.5% again in the medium term. This corresponds approximately to the current EBITDA margin of 10 percent. In the future, Schuler will use earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) as a key performance indicator.
    “Over the last few years, we have achieved profitable growth and strengthened our position as the global and technological market leader in metalforming. With this in mind, we aim to continue our successful development in the future,” concluded Klebert.

    Please also read