Slight recovery in automotive market leads to rise in incoming orders

(PresseBox) ( Zurich, )
The restructuring of Micronas (SIX Swiss Exchange: MASN) and its related concentration on the automotive market is largely complete, which is reflected in its sales figures. The Micronas Group's consolidated net sales for the third quarter came to CHF 47.4 million, with the Automotive division contributing CHF 28.8 million (+13.8 percent) and the Consumer division CHF 18.6 million (-52.1 percent). There was a quarter-on-quarter improvement in the Company's operating loss before exceptional items from CHF 25.1 million to CHF 11.6 million. While exceptional items of CHF 24.5 million resulted in an EBIT loss of only CHF 0.6 million in the previous quarter, the loss after exceptional items in the third quarter came to CHF 11.6 million. The net loss for the third quarter was CHF 15.1 million, leaving earnings per share at CHF -0.51. On September 25, 2009, Micronas held cash and cash equivalents of CHF 193.5 million and shareholders' equity of CHF 139.4 million, resulting in an equity ratio of 37.2 percent. Although the worst may now be over, with initial small signs of recovery becoming apparent, future developments in the automotive market generally remain hard to predict.

Within the Automotive division, third-quarter sales were up 13.8 percent on the previous three months to CHF 28.8 million, and there was an operating loss (EBIT) of CHF 10.7 million. This loss is entirely due to lower capacity utilization at the production facility in Freiburg, which took CHF 11.8 million out of the income statement. Thanks to a small increase in demand in the Automotive division, capacity utilization at the Freiburg plant was up slightly on the second quarter at above 50 percent. Large parts of the manufacturing operation are still on short-time working.

Within the Automotive division the trend for incoming orders, which were higher than sales in the third quarter, indicates that we may well have passed the worst point. With a Book-to-bill ratio (incoming orders relative to sales) of 1.25, it is likely that sales will recover further in the fourth quarter.

The Consumer division's sales for the third quarter declined further, from CHF 38.8 million in the previous quarter to CHF 18.6 million. In the second quarter, the release of restructuring provisions (CHF 15.8 million) and the net gain from partial sale (CHF 8.7 million) created a positive EBIT of CHF 6.3 million, but in the third quarter EBIT showed a loss of CHF 0.9 million.

Following the Company's restructuring and its focus on automotive business, the Board of Directors has, as announced half a year ago, signaled a new start for the Company by changing the membership of the Management Board and the Board of Directors. In September, the Board of Directors appointed Matthias Bopp (45) as the new CEO. He joins the Company from NASDQ-quoted German semiconductor firm Atmel, where he was in charge of the Radio Frequency and Automotive division. Günter Hoppe (59), who has been at Micronas since 1997, most recently as deputy CFO, has been appointed as new CFO.

CEO Wolfgang Kalsbach and CFO Manfred Häner are resigning as previously announced. The exact date of their departure has not yet been fixed, because in the wake of the Company's restructuring they want to ensure a seamless transition to the new management team.

Current members Thomas Lustenberger, Christoph Brand, Rudolf W. Hug and Harald Stanzer are all stepping down from the Board of Directors. The member remaining from the existing Board is Heinrich W. Kreutzer, who is slated to take over as Chairman. The Board of Directors now proposes that the extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting of November 27, 2009, elect four new members to the Board: Klaus Blickle (54), CEO of global automotive supplier Harman Becker Automotive Systems; Dieter G. Seipler (62), CEO of German automotive supplier MANN+HUMMEL Holding; Stefan Wolf (47), Chairman of the Board of German automotive supplier ElringKlinger AG; and the Swiss Lucas A. Grolimund (43), former CEO of technology group Cicor and of Schlatter Holding AG, and former CFO of Gate Gourmet Group.

Current Chairman of the Board Thomas Lustenberger explains: "The Board of Directors is pleased to have attracted such outstanding automotive market experts to Micronas as Board members and as the Company's new CEO. The management of Micronas is now optimally focused on the automotive business and its further development."
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