Feintool continues its run of success, lifting sales by 19% and doubling its operating profit.

The global automotive industry was on good form in the first half of 2014. The North American market remained at the high prior-year level, while automotive production in Europe recovered slightly from the prior-year low and the Asian market continued to grow, despite of a slightly slower pace. Estimates indicate that global automotive production expanded by 3.8% year on year.

Encouraging business situation
Across the Group, sales were up 19.3% on the prior-year period to CHF 245 million. Orders received increased by 4.3% and the orders backlog by 4.2%. The gross margin climbed by 16.8%, from CHF 82.4 million to CHF 96.2 million, while the EBITDA margin was up from 9.8% to 12.5%. EBITDA increased by 52.1%, from CHF 20.1 million to CHF 30.6 million, with the operating margin (EBIT margin) doubling from 3.5% to 7.1%. Operating profit (EBIT) therefore showed a marked increase of CHF 10.2 million to CHF 17.4 million (+141%). This performance is the result of the systematic focus on fineblanking and forming, continued internationalization and improved productivity in all areas.

Cash flows after the change in net working capital increased significantly, rising from CHF 2.1 million to CHF 18.3 million. Capital expenditure amounted to CHF 24.2 million – again around a third higher than in the previous year. Free cash flow was therefore a negative CHF 5.9 million, compared with a negative CHF 16.2 million in the previous year.

All segments and regions positive
Orders received by the System Parts segment – representing releases for the next six months – rose by 5.7% to CHF 228.5 million. Sales increased by 20.2% to CHF 205.3 million. In local currency, they were up by as much as 24.4%. Europe accounted for 55.8% of sales and the USA for 33.5%, while Asia’s share fell to 10.7% largely as a result of currency movements.

Orders received by the capital goods segment Fineblanking Technology declined by a marginal 2.5% to CHF 46.2 million. The orders backlog amounts to CHF 37.5 million, which equates to around six months’ worth of work. Sales stabilized at CHF 47.1 million.

Optimistic outlook
After a successful first six months of financial year 2014, we are confirming the full-year forecasts made at the start of the year; this comes despite some significant negative exchange-rate effects for the Japanese yen versus the Swiss franc.

Barring any possible impact of the latest political developments on our markets, we expect group sales of CHF 470 – 480 million. This figure has been adjusted merely to reflect the share of sales attributable to IMA Automation Amberg GmbH, which has now been sold. We are therefore in a position to fully offset the loss of IMA Automation sales solely through organic growth in our core business. On that basis, we also continue to expect an EBIT margin in the region of 7%. In the medium term, therefore, the growth momentum displayed by the System Parts segment in the first half of 2014 also constitutes the basis for a target sales figure of CHF 600 million and an EBIT margin of 8%.

In his lecture Horst Linzbach, Chief Sales Officer at Feintool, used the example of clutch plate carriers to show how these formed components resist the high mechanical requirements of wear and stability in the drive train of modern vehicles. Another advantage: these clutch plate carriers can be produced highly economically.

Feintool also participated as an exhibitor at the flanking exhibition “Transmission Expo” – with both segments Fineblanking Technology and System Parts. Vehicle transmissions are one of the main application areas for fineblanked and formed parts and a core competency of Feintool. In Berlin, the Feintool team of three (from left: Volker Drumm, Dirk Ottoberg and Patrick Vonmüllenen) presented appropriate tool concepts and component developments for future transmission developments. Numerous discussions at the Feintool stand underlined the interest of the visitors in fineblanking and forming.

Feintool is an internationally operating market leader in the technologies of fine blanking, forming, and sheet metal punching for processing steel sheets.

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