Swisslog increased its order intake and net sales significantly in the fiscal year 2014. As expected, the operating profit decreased as a result of the continued restrained investments in the North American healthcare market and investments in the company’s own business structure. The net result fell from MCHF 11.9 to MCHF 4.4 due to extraordinary expenses in connection with the public offer by KUKA and currency translation differences.
As announced in February, the order intake of the Swisslog Group rose to MCHF 735.4 (+4.9%, +7.4% in constant currencies) and order backlog to MCHF 628.2 (+15.9%, +12.7% in constant currencies). In local currencies, the order intake and order backlog reached a record high. The margin in the order intake also developed positively. Net sales climbed 5.8% (+7.5% in constant currencies) to MCHF 669.6. In contrast to the pleasing order and net sales performance, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell, as expected, by 6.8% (–2.9% in constant currencies) before transaction expenses and amounted to MCHF 19.1. The Swisslog Group’s EBIT margin was 2.9% (prior year: 3.2%), reaching the upper end of the expected range. A higher EBIT margin was mainly prevented by the continued restrained investments in the North American healthcare market and investments in the company’s own business structure. The fiscal year was also marked by a focusing of the corporate strategy and associated investments in the organization and increased further development of the product, solution and service offer. Swisslog is convinced that with these measures essential foundations have been laid for a successful future.
Transaction expenses put a strain on earnings
The public offer by KUKA put a strain on earnings due to expenses amounting to MCHF 4.4. A deterioration in the financial result following currency translation losses also had a negative effect. The net result was down 63.0% (–57.1% in constant currencies) year on year to MCHF 4.4. A glance at the balance sheet shows that Swisslog still has a solid financial base.
Market environment slowly recovering
Swisslog expects the economic framework conditions to improve slowly in 2015. However, competition will remain intense, especially in Europe and North America, but increasingly also in Asia. The decision by the Swiss National Bank to discontinue the minimum exchange rate of the euro against the Swiss franc led to a sharp appreciation of the franc compared with the currencies relevant to the Swisslog Group. This will have an impact on the consolidated income statement in 2015 when it comes to converting the earnings of subsidiaries. The unpredictability of exchange rates and the persisting uncertainty in the North American healthcare market make predictions for 2015 impossible. As in the prior year, a proposal will be submitted to the Annual General Meeting to refrain from distributing a dividend.
The Annual Report 2014 published today is available in electronic form at www.swisslog.com/berichte.