Dornbirn, Austria – After a subdued start to the 2015/16 financial year, the international lighting group Zumtobel Group has recorded sound operating improvement as the year has progressed. Group revenues for the first nine months showed modest growth, and while adjusted EBIT remained lower than in the same period of the previous year, the gap has been progressively reduced from one quarter to the next.
Thus the Zumtobel Group posted a 4.9% increase in revenues for the reporting period, which totalled EUR 1,009.9 million (previous year: EUR 962.8 million). The rise in revenues was supported by positive currency effects. After adjustment for these effects, revenues rose by 1.2%. Looking at the third quarter alone (October to January), revenues rose by 2.8% (adjusted for currency: plus 0.4%) to EUR 307.9 million. The trend towards energy-efficient LED products continues unbroken – the LED share of Group revenues grew from 47.4% to 62.9% year-on-year.
Positive development in Components Segment, modest growth in Lighting Segment
A breakdown by business segment shows contrasting developments: The Components Segment (Tridonic brand) continued to flourish in the reporting period. Segment revenues increased 7.9% in the first nine months (adjusted for currency translation: plus 5.1%) to EUR 311.8 million (previous year EUR 289.0 million). The slower growth in the third quarter (plus 4.0%) resulted above all from the loss of revenues from the signage business, which was sold to the US AgiLight company effective 30 November. The development of the Lighting Segment (Thorn, Zumtobel, acdc and Reiss brands) was less robust overall. Here revenues for the first nine months increased by 5.2% (adjusted for currency translation: plus 1.5%) to EUR 762.7 million (previous year: EUR 724.8 million). Sales growth in the third quarter (plus 3.5%) was negatively influenced by continuing market weakness in France, Australia and China, as well as by project postponements in the Middle East.
Adjusted EBIT improves in Q3, net profit for reporting period well above previous year
Adjusted EBIT for the third quarter showed a 29.1% improvement year-on-year to reach EUR 5.5 million (previous year: EUR 4.3 million). However, following a weak first quarter, adjusted EBIT for the first nine months was down from EUR 51.5 million in the previous year to EUR 47.8 million. This equates to a return on sales (adjusted EBIT margin) of 4.7% (previous year: 5.3%). The decline in adjusted EBIT resulted above all from the substantial increase in development expenditures (plus EUR 9.0 million) to strengthen the innovation power of the Zumtobel Group and its brands. The operating result for the reporting period was also influenced by continuing pressure on prices, temporary negative currency effects (USD/CHF), and delays in the realisation of forecast cost savings from plant restructuring. On the other hand, the positive effects from the extensive cost saving measures undertaken during the year are clearly visible in the development of selling expenses. Net profit for the period increased by 89.1% to EUR 29.2 million (previous year: EUR 15.4 million) due to a substantial decline in negative special effects and an improvement in financial results. This equates to earnings per share of EUR 0.68 (previous year: EUR 0.36).
“The technology shift in the lighting industry is now entering a second, decisive phase: Following the shift from conventional light sources to LEDs, now it is all about smart connectivity between the lighting infrastructure and the Internet, leading to whole new opportunities for our customers. We are making targeted investments in the innovation power of the Zumtobel Group and in the strategic redirection of our business model towards innovative services. At the same time we need to foster efficiency across the company, leverage synergies in development, sales and purchasing, and ensure the global competitiveness of our production network. These two topics – innovation power and cost-effectiveness – are at the very top of the agenda for the Management Board,” said CEO Ulrich Schumacher.
Headcount totals 6,860 full-time equivalents
With 6,860 full-time equivalents including contract workers but excluding apprentices, at the end of the first nine months (31 January 2016) the size of the workforce was lower than one year earlier (7,091 employees). The numbers of employees at the plants and in the sales sector were down due to restructuring measures and divestment activities. There was also a reduction in the number of contract workers. An increase in the headcount came in September with the acquisition of the acdc brand with 118 employees.
The headcount in Austria increased by 3.5% year-on-year to 2,331 full-time equivalents. The size of the workforce in the Vorarlberg region rose by 3.9% to 2,042 employees. This increase was due not least to the integration of employees in the IT infrastructure segment, who previously worked for an external service provider.
Outlook: Management Board confirms full-year revenue and earnings targets for 2015/16
The Management Board’s targets for the 2015/16 financial year remain intact, with a year-on-year increase of approximately 5% in revenues and adjusted EBIT of EUR 70 to 80 million (FY 2014/15: EUR 66.5 million). In driving forward the strategic development of the Zumtobel Group, the Management Board remains fully focused on a multi-brand sales structure in the lighting business, the adjustment of production capacity, and the Group-wide bundling of procurement activities. These key factors will support a sustainable increase in revenues and profitability. At the same time the Zumtobel Group is also evaluating further opportunities to optimise structural costs.
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