Jenoptik posts 5 percent increase in sales and earnings in 2008

Development of business by the individual segments expected to vary in 2009

(PresseBox) ( Jena, )
In 2008 the Jenoptik Group generated sales of 548.3 million euros (prev. year 521.7 million euros). The Group operating result increased to 37.1 million euros (prev. year 35.3 million euros). Together with the improvement in the financial and investment results, earnings after tax reached 16.6 million euros. In the previous year Jenoptik had posted a loss.

"Jenoptik is equipped to deal with a difficult year 2009", said head of Jenoptik Michael Mertin at the Annual Accounts Press Conference of the Jenoptik Group on Friday in Jena. "We continued with our course of consolidation and further expanded our core business and so have succeeded in guiding the Group to calmer waters. The new structure of a market and customer driven approach has proven successful." Summary of the success-related factors for 2008:

- additional gains in market shares with laser systems in the photovoltaics market
- strong demand for security technology and new product launches for this market
- pick-up in the international traffic safety market since the 2nd half-year 2008
- continued integration of the French Etamic Group and consequent development into a global systems provider for industrial production metrology
- disposal of marginal activities (sale of the majority holding in the laser display business, withdrawal from the development of the EUV beam source and disposal of a small branch of business).

"We have also achieved key financial targets" stated Chief Financial Officer Frank Einhellinger. Once again we generated a clearly positive cash flow from operating activities at 46.5 million euros (prev. year 73.8 million euros) which was sufficient to cover all capital expenditure. The Group's net interest burden in 2008 reduced significantly by 16.2 million euros to 11.3 million euros (prev. year 27.5 million euros) as a result of the early repayment of the high-yield bond at the end of 2007. The shareholders' capital quota increased to 42.5 percent (December 31, 2007: 40.3 percent). Despite the business expansion and a small cash-financed acquisition, net debt, at 191.6 million euros, remained at the same level as the previous year (prev. year 191.7 million euros).

Order intakes in 2008 exceeded the 500 million euro mark.

Despite the weakening economic conditions in the 2nd half-year 2008 the Jenoptik Group recorded order intakes in the sum of 508.2 million euros in the 2008 fiscal year (prev. year 525.8 million euros). The reduction in the order intake was primarily attributable to the crisis in the semiconductor industry which deepened in the 2nd half-year 2008 and affected the order book situation in the Lasers & Optical Systems segment. As expected, the order intake of the Defense & Civil Systems segment was also down compared with 2007. By contrast, the Metrology segment posted a marked rise in its order intake, both in the area of industrial production metrology as well as traffic safety systems. The Group order intake totaled 395.1 million euros (December 31, 2007: 439.4 million euros), with nearly 75 percent of the total coming from the defense and security technology business which is characterized by long-term, major orders.

Information on the three segments of the Jenoptik Group.

The 2008 fiscal year of the Lasers & Optical Systems segment was influenced by the crisis in the semiconductor industry which deepened in the 2nd half-year 2008. This impacted in particular on the areas of Optics and Micro Optics. These effects led to a fall in the segment's sales and earnings. Sales totaled 207.0 million euros (prev. year 217.9 million euros) with the segment's operating result coming in at 15.0 million euros (prev. year 25.2 million euros). By contrast, the Laser Processing Systems, particularly systems for the photovoltaics industry, as well as Diode Lasers areas, posted good performances in 2008 although they were unable to compensate for the falls resulting from the semiconductor crisis. The order intake of the segment, at 194.8 million euros, was therefore also down on the figure for the previous year (prev. year 217.5 million euros), with the order backlog totaling 63.6 million euros (December 31, 2007: 77.6 million euros).

Following a difficult 2007 fiscal year the Metrology segment achieved the turnaround in the 2nd half-year 2008. Contributory factors here were the pick-up in the international market for traffic safety technology as well as the global presence in the area of industrial production metrology as a result of the continued integration of the French metrology group Etamic. The segment recorded a 7.7 percent rise in sales to 126.3 million euros (prev. year 117.3 million euros). The operating result, at 6.9 million euros based on the year as a whole, did not quite manage to repeat the figure of 7.6 million euros achieved in the previous year. This was due to restructuring abroad, primarily in the 1st half-year 2008, partly together with the amalgamation of sites. The international revival in the market for traffic safety technology and the improvement in the market position against competitors in the area of industrial production metrology was reflected in the segment's order intake which increased by 15 percent to 133.3 million euros (prev. year 115.9 million euros). Growth came primarily from abroad. From November 2008 the Industrial Metrology division posted a fall in its order intake as a result of the crisis in the global automotive industry.

2008 was a good year for the Defense & Civil Systems segment which recorded double-figure rates of increase in both sales and operating result. All the business units in the segment improved their performance over 2007, with some even improving on the forecasts at the beginning of 2008. Contributory factors here were good economic market conditions as well as new products. The segment generated sales of 208.5 million euros (prev. year 181.2 million euros). The operating result, up by 54.9 percent to 15.8 million euros, increased at a significantly higher rate in proportion to the development of sales (prev. year 10.2 million euros). The leap in results was attributable to a good performance in the security and space technology business, the launch of new products on the market as well as an extremely good level of manufacturing capacity utilization. The advantages of the new organizational structure have already been reflected in the fiscal year just past, particularly in the Defense & Civil Systems segment. As expected, at 173.4 million euros the segment's order intake was below the level for the previous year (prev. year 187.5 million euros) which had been influenced by a major order in the 4th quarter. As a result of the high sales volume the segment's order backlog reduced to 294.6 million euros (December 31, 2007: 332.5 million euros).

Outlook for the current 2009 fiscal year.

"In the current climate of the financial and economic crisis we have established a stable position for ourselves and - unlike companies which operate in just one market - are benefiting from our broadly-based line-up and long-term business models in defense and security technology" said head of Jenoptik Michael Mertin. "The outlook is for a difficult year ahead although Jenoptik will emerge stronger from the crisis. We are in a good position to achieve this target due to the size we have in comparison with competitors in the high-tech environment and our well-balanced portfolio which enables us to further expand our technological basis also in times of crisis. In addition, we have commenced measures before the beginning of the crisis from which we benefit today. These include the consistent disposal of loss-making and/or risky business activities which are not part of our core expertise, the strict focus on cash flows and the organizational structure which is now clear and close to the market."

As a result of the current economic trend it is impossible to make any statements on sales and results for the year 2009 which provide the same level of forecasting reliability as in the previous years. It is the general assumption of the Jenoptik Group that sales and results will not reach the levels achieved in 2008. However, the deterioration in the conditions for achieving sales, as confirmed in the first months of 2009, vary significantly with regard to the impact they will have in the segments.

On the sales side we can make forecasts with a good level of certainty for the Defense & Civil Systems segment thanks to the significant and long-term order backlog. Jenoptik will benefit from this stable business and expects to post sales which will once again exceed the 200 million euro mark. Approx. 68 percent of these sales had already been included in the order backlog as at end 2008. We also anticipate a relatively stable development of sales for the Lasers & Material Processing and Traffic Solutions divisions. Sales in the Optical Systems and Industrial Metrology divisions will be lower than in 2008 due to the fall in demand.

The Group operating result will be influenced by the lower sales volume and downward pressure on prices as a result of the economic crisis. Based on the stable contribution from the Defense & Civil Systems segment, as well as the presence in various markets, Jenoptik anticipates a positive Group EBIT. The forecasts for the development of sales and results in 2009 will be set out in more detail during the course of the year in the quarterly reporting.

At this point in time Jenoptik does not anticipate any significant redundancies resulting from the financial and economic crisis. "Our fundamental aim is to retain employees. However, adjustments in conjunction with the Jenoptik Excellence Program launched in 2009 and further consolidation within the Group cannot be ruled out. Our aim is to achieve sustainable profitable growth and this will require further optimization within the Group" said the Jenoptik boss.

The early introduction of the Group's strategic reorientation has proven successful, particularly with regard to the focus on liquidity and/or cash flow. This is in line with the policy on dividends under which it is not intended to pay any dividends for the year 2008. Comments on this from Chief Financial Officer Frank Einhellinger: "The priority is on further strengthening the Group's financial power." In addition to the positive cash flows and unused credit lines totaling nearly 80 million euros which are spread between a number of banks, a number of smaller, short-term credit arrangements have been extended recently to a medium-term timeframe and new financing banks procured.

Jenoptik is keeping to its long-term targets: "However, we do not know to what extent the current situation will delay us in achieving our targets" stated the Chairman of the Executive Board Michael Mertin.
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