Micronas passes break-even at operating level in first quarter

(PresseBox) ( Zurich, )
Micronas has had a good start to 2010, slightly exceeding Management predictions for sales and EBIT in the first quarter of the year. The Micronas Group's sales for the first quarter of 2010 came to CHF 47.4 million. This slight reduction of 3.8 percent on the figure for the previous quarter was due to an expected fall in Consumer sales. In the Automotive division, the revival in incoming orders and sales that began in the third and fourth quarter of 2009 continued in the first quarter of 2010. Savings measures initiated by the Board of Directors and Management had a positive effect on the result. Having posted an operating loss (EBIT) of CHF 1.0 million in the previous quarter, the Micronas Group showed an operating profit of CHF 0.9 million for the first three months of this year. After including financial income and expenses, the loss for the first quarter came to CHF 3.9 million, compared with CHF 6.5 million in the previous quarter. This results in earnings per share of CHF -0.13. The cost of overcapacities in the first quarter had a CHF 3.9 million impact on the income statement. On March 26, 2010, Micronas held cash and cash equivalents of CHF 179.1 million, a decline of CHF 9.3 million since December 31, 2009, or of CHF 5.2 million after currency adjustments. Shareholders' equity was at CHF 121.6 million, resulting in an equity ratio of 37.1 percent. In light of the positive development of the worldwide automotive markets, Micronas expects its business to develop in the second quarter in line with the first quarter.

The Automotive division's sales were up 8.4 percent on the previous quarter, or 10.8 percent after currency adjustments, to CHF 40.1 million. Operating profit (EBIT) came to CHF 1.1 million, following an operating loss of CHF 1.2 million in the previous quarter.

Government action to stabilize car sales has had very different effects in different countries and regions. In France and the UK, for example, sales figures have gone up in recent months owing to ongoing stimulation measures, but in Germany they have fallen. For Europe as a whole, there was slight growth in January and February. The US markets are currently on the road to recovery, with sales having risen for the last five months.

Micronas clients are cautious about predicting the performance of the automotive market in the second half of 2010. The manufacturers that are most important to Micronas are benefiting from the recovery to different extents. Japanese car makers are still refraining from making any predictions about the further course of the financial year, while the Germans expect to see sales rise slightly over 2010 as a whole.

The performance of the Industrial division's market was mutedly positive in the first quarter of 2010, but here too there is a certain amount of caution about forecasting market trends for 2010. While the orders situation is improving steadily in some traditional industrial sectors, the volume of orders as of end-March 2010 is still below the yearback level. In the white goods sector, the economic outlook, and therefore the outlook for projects for Micronas, is more promising. For example, in the first quarter of 2010, Micronas started volume delivery of a Hall sensor that is fitted into the closing mechanism of a new generation of dishwashers.

Micronas has restructured its sales activities in order to strengthen turnover. At the same time, a group of inhouse marketing and application specialists has been formed to focus exclusively on the industrial, white goods and advanced sensors markets.

The Consumer division's sales for the first quarter of 2010 fell as expected to CHF 7.3 million from the previous quarter's CHF 12.3 million. Its operating loss (EBIT) for the first quarter came to CHF 0.3 million.

Thanks to increased demand for the Automotive division's products, capacity utilization at the Freiburg plant was up to more than 70 percent in the first quarter. Large parts of the manufacturing operation are still on shorttime working.

At the 15th ordinary Shareholders' Meeting, held at the Technopark in Zurich on March 26, 2010, shareholders approved all of the proposals of the Board of Directors. Klaus Blickle, Lucas A. Grolimund, Dieter G. Seipler and Stefan Wolf were reelected to the Board for a oneyear term up to the next ordinary Shareholders' Meeting. Following his departure as CEO of automotive supplier Harman Becker Automotive Systems, Klaus Blickle resigned from the Board of Directors of Micronas Semiconductor Holding AG on April 13, 2010.
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