Publication of 2015 annual report: ElringKlinger maintains momentum of growth

(PresseBox) ( Dettingen / Erms, )

Revenue up by 14% to over EUR 1.5 billion; organic revenue growth of 6%
EBIT before purchase price allocation at EUR 140 million, which includes exceptional charges of EUR 34 million due to capacity constraints
Proposal for stable dividend of EUR 0.55 per share despite lower earnings
Guidance 2016: organic revenue growth of 5 to 7%, EBIT before purchase price allocation of EUR 160 to 170 million

The ElringKlinger Group has maintained its trajectory of growth, with revenue increasing by 13.7% to EUR 1,507.3 (1,325.8) million in the 2015 financial year. In doing so, the company managed to breach the threshold of EUR 1.5 billion for the first time. Revenue was influenced by favorable foreign exchange effects equivalent to EUR 69.6 million, primarily due to the weakness of the euro against the US dollar, the Chinese yuan, and the Swiss franc. Eliminating these effects and taking into account the revenue contribution made by US acquiree M&W Automotive Manufacturing Co., Inc. of EUR 32.2 million, the Group generated organic revenue growth of EUR 79.7 million, which corresponds to an increase of 6.0%. Over the same period of time global growth in automobile production stood at just 1 to 2%.

NAFTA and Asia as growth drivers

ElringKlinger recorded strong growth both in its home market and at a global level in all the key regions served by the Group. In Germany, growth stood at 6.0%, while revenue in the Rest of Europe grew by EUR 36.5 million or 8.4% (FX-adjusted: 5.0%). In the NAFTA region, the Group saw revenue increase by EUR 76.0 million or 34.5% to EUR 296.4 million. Eliminating the M&W acquisition and foreign exchange effects, growth in this region still stood at a very solid 8.1%. With revenue expanding by EUR 45.1 million or 20.0% (FX-adjusted: 7.9%) to EUR 270.7 million, the Asia-Pacific region remains a growth driver. An order for lightweight shielding systems placed by a Japanese car maker represents a milestone for ElringKlinger within this market; the start of series production is scheduled for 2017.

Earnings impacted by capacity constraints

Essentially, the global upturn seen within the automotive industry also produced benefits for ElringKlinger's earnings performance. However, exceptional expense items connected with capacity bottlenecks in the Original Equipment segment had an adverse effect. Unexpectedly strong demand within this area necessitated, among other things, extra shifts and unscheduled consignments. The additional costs of EUR 34 million incurred as a result of these capacity constraints diluted adjusted Group EBIT before purchase price allocation by 13.5% or EUR 21.9 million, taking the figure to EUR 140.4 million. As a result, the adjusted EBIT margin (before purchase price allocation) fell by 2.9 percentage points to 9.3%. Correspondingly, net income for the period was lower year on year at EUR 95.8 million, as were earnings per share at EUR 1.45 (EUR 110.6 million and EUR 1.67 respectively).

Dividend payment remains stable

The Management Board and Supervisory Board jointly propose to the Annual General Meeting, scheduled for May 31, 2016, a dividend payment of EUR 0.55 per share. Therefore, the dividend will remain unchanged year on year despite the downturn in earnings; the dividend ratio, calculated on the basis of earnings per share, will improve from 33 to 38%.

High level of investment as a basis for future growth

In order to sustain the Group's momentum of growth, ElringKlinger channeled 11.7 (11.1)% of revenue - i.e., EUR 176.1 (147.0) million - into real estate and property, plant, and equipment. ElringKlinger is committed to Germany as a business location, where it directed investment spending primarily at its sites in Dettingen/Erms, Lenningen, Rottenburg, Bietigheim-Bissingen, Gelting, and Idstein. In addition to modernizing and expanding its domestic plants, the Group laid the foundations at an international level to ensure that its solid order intake can be translated into profitable growth. To improve productivity, ElringKlinger completed targeted purchases of new machinery and equipment at a global level, in addition to building new production facilities in China, India, and Turkey. Capacity constraints in the Original Equipment segment were seen as an opportunity to initiate measures aimed at establishing a new production site in Hungary and thus raising capacity levels within the affected unit.

Very solid equity ratio

ElringKlinger's financial position was again robust in the fiscal year just ended. At 48.5 (49.7)%, the Group's equity ratio remained at a very solid level, despite strong growth.

Perfectly positioned for the future

The megatrend of "powertrain efficiency" will continue to drive the automotive industry in the coming years, not least in view of ever-stricter emissions standards. As Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG, puts it: "With a product portfolio consistently tailored to efficient mobility, ElringKlinger is very well positioned and will continue to benefit more than others from growth in the industry. We will draw on our technological knowledge and process expertise for the purpose of developing and rolling out a range of other innovative solutions in the field of drive technology and lightweight construction."

Outlook: continued revenue growth, visible improvement in earnings

Based on the assumption of growth of around 2% in global automobile production, the Group anticipates an expansion in organic revenue (i.e., adjusted for acquisitions and foreign exchange effects) by 5 to 7% for the current 2016 financial year.

Revenue growth will contribute to improved earnings in 2016. What is more, measures introduced to address the issue of capacity constraints are already showing positive effects, although the first quarter is likely to produce trailing exceptional costs of EUR 10 million. Overall, ElringKlinger anticipates that EBIT before purchase price allocation will stand at EUR 160 to 170 million in 2016.

In the medium term, the Group is planning to achieve annual organic revenue growth of 5 to 7%. In terms of earnings, ElringKlinger will be targeting an EBIT margin (before purchase price allocation) of 13 to 15%.
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