Significant fall in orders and sales

New customers acquired in challenging environment

Biel-Bienne, (PresseBox) - The Mikron Group posted an order intake of CHF 129.7 million in the 2009 financial year (-44.5% compared to previous year) and recorded net sales of CHF 150.1 million (-43.2%). Mikron has been as hard hit as the entire industry by the inability of companies in its markets to invest due to the economic crisis. Structures have been adapted. The situation may have bottomed out. The Group expects a moderate upturn in 2010.

The Machining segment, which primarily comprises customers in the European automotive supply industry, was particularly hard hit. By contrast, the Automation segment benefited from business volumes from the medical technology and pharmaceutical industries that were on a par with the previous year. The losses that the two segments are expected to report will therefore differ substantially. Operating improvements were achieved in the second half, as is evidenced by the lower operating loss sustained by the Mikron Group compared to the first half, despite lower sales volumes. Similarly pleasing is the fact that the net cash position is almost unchanged from 2008. Nevertheless, taking account of all the influences that impacted on the Group during crisisridden 2009, Mikron expects to post a sizeable corporate loss.

Mikron is cautiously confident about its prospects for 2010. Although the order backlog at the beginning of the new year is very small, the Group expects a slight upturn in its markets from which it is likely to benefit from the beginning of the second half.

Machining segment

This is the segment in which Mikron produces machines and cutting tools for machining small to mediumsized metal parts. The automotive supply industry and writing instruments industry account for a significant part of its business volume. Virtually no new machines were sold during the first five months after automotive production came almost to a standstill at the beginning of the year. Things only started to pick up slightly in the 2nd half. The number of quotes being issued for new machines increased towards the end of the fourth quarter, while the cutting tools and service business recovered more noticeably during the same quarter. New customers for new applications were acquired in various market segments despite the difficult environment. The Asian market has gained in significance as business volumes in Europe have slumped. Demand from the writing instruments industry, where Mikron is a leader in machines for producing ballpoint pen tips, was particularly strong.

Automation segment

This is the segment in which Mikron produces systems for assembling small to handsized products and develops automation solutions for production subprocesses. Customers in the medical technology and pharmaceutical industry account for the majority of the business volume. In 2009 once again major new customers were acquired in Europe, but also in the United States and Asia. The trend to selfmedication continues uninterrupted in the healthcare segment. This is resulting in continuing growth in the demand for appropriate devices for patients, e.g. insulin injection pens or inhalers. This market segment has proved particularly robust in the challenging economic environment. Mikron is one of the world's leading solution providers in assembly automation for this segment. The fall in total volume is solely due to the lack of orders from the automotive and electrical industries.

Mikron® is a trademark of Mikron Holding AG, Biel (Switzerland)

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