Dornbirn, Austria – In the first quarter of the current financial year (May to July 2016) the Zumtobel Group was able report a marked improvement in profitability. Adjusted EBIT rose to EUR 20.1 million (previous year: EUR 13.5 million). Net profit for the period increased 36.9% to EUR 12.6 million.
Foreign exchange effects impact on revenue development
Group revenues for the first three months totalled EUR 325.7 million, 4.9% lower than in the good first quarter of the previous year (EUR 342.4 million). The development of revenues was influenced by negative foreign exchange effects of EUR 12.1 million, as well as by the loss of revenues due to the sale of the lighting group’s signage activities in November 2015. The negative foreign exchange effects resulted primarily from the increase in the value of the euro against the British pound and Swiss franc. After adjustment for these effects, first-quarter Group revenues declined by 1.4%. The Zumtobel Group continued to report dynamic growth in the field of innovative LED products. Total revenues from the sale of LED products moved ahead 10.4% year-on-year, as the LED share of Group revenues rose from 60.2% to 69.9% within 12 months.
A regional breakdown reveals ongoing market weakness in France, Australia and the Middle East, and increasingly in Switzerland as well. Business development in the UK, the most important market for the Zumtobel Group, remained stable after the BREXIT referendum, but has been impacted by negative foreign exchange effects. Developments in Italy, Austria, the USA and the Benelux & Eastern European region, by contrast, were very positive.
The Zumtobel Group posted a strong improvement in earnings. Despite the decline in revenues, Group EBIT adjusted for special effects rose by 48.6% year-on-year to EUR 20.1 million (previous year: EUR 13.5 million). The return on sales (adjusted EBIT margin) increased from 3.9% to 6.2%. This improvement in profitability resulted above all from restructuring measures that the lighting group has introduced in its global production network over the past two years, thereby boosting the efficiency of its production operations. Other contributory factors in the development of earnings included the reorganisation of the Group’s global purchasing activities, a reduction in sales-related costs through the streamlining of back-office structures, and an improvement in cost levels for newly introduced products. As a result, net profit for the first quarter showed a sharp 36.9% increase to EUR 12.6 million (previous year: EUR 9.2 million).
“The solid start to the new financial year shows that we are on the right course with the strategic reorientation of the Zumtobel Group and the steady implementation of the necessary restructuring measures. To position the Zumtobel Group successfully for the future, it is imperative for us to create competitive cost structures. So it is highly gratifying to see that our efforts to improve the Group’s profitability are making a visible difference. We remain fully committed to the pursuit of our strategic reorientation efforts, transforming the Zumtobel Group into an innovative, software-oriented service provider,” says Zumtobel Group CEO Ulrich Schumacher.
Headcount totals 6,778 full-time equivalents
Compared to the balance-sheet date (30 April 2016) the size of the Zumtobel Group’s workforce has remained virtually unchanged with 6,778 full-time equivalents including contract workers but not including apprentices (30 April 2016: 6,761; plus 0.3%). In Austria the number of employees declined by 53 in the first quarter to 2,311, mainly due to a reduction in the number of contract workers. The headcount at the Group’s headquarters in Dornbirn, Austria totalled 2,030 full-time equivalents (30 April 2016: 2,083).
Outlook: Development for the full 2016/17 financial year still marked by uncertainty
The continuing low visibility and related planning uncertainty mean that it remains very difficult to reliably forecast revenues and earnings for the 2016/17 financial year. Based on the solid first quarter results, however, the Management Board of the Zumtobel Group expects to see a slight improvement in adjusted Group EBIT for the full year (previous year: EUR 58.7 million).
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