Order volumes at HOMAG Group AG have improved considerably again after a poor fiscal 2009. At the press briefing on the annual results in Stuttgart, CEO Rolf Knoll reported on a clear upward trend. “Our customers are increasingly willing to invest again, which makes us very optimistic that the worst is behind us. This is why we anticipate double-digit percentage growth in order intake and sales revenue for 2010, and we aim to generate sales revenue of more than EUR 600 million (2009: EUR 524 million)”, says Knoll. For the first quarter of 2010, the management board anticipates an order volume almost double that of the, albeit very poor, first three months of 2009, and 10 percent higher than the already favorable fourth quarter of 2009 (EUR 131 million).
At the same time, however, Knoll concedes that the effects of the economic crisis are still tangible, and that “despite positive trends, we are still well below the level from before the crisis, particularly with regard to the prices being attained on the market”. Overall capacity utilization has risen throughout the group, and some group companies are even back to running at full capacity once again.
The leading global manufacturer of plant and machinery for the woodworking industry, which is traded on the SDAX, also intends to improve its results in 2010. CFO Andreas Hermann anticipates a “slightly positive result”, subject to the condition that demand remains stable in the German-speaking countries. The result for certain individual quarters, however, may still be negative. The HOMAG Group intends to follow through with cost-cutting measures, particularly in the fields of investment and other operating expenses. Personnel measures already introduced will be concluded in the course of fiscal 2010. This will result in another slight decline in the number of employees in the course of 2010. Andreas Hermann believes that “as things stand, the headcount of HOMAG Group will settle at just over 4,800 employees.” (December 31, 2009: 4,954 employees).
At the press briefing, Mr. Knoll also emphasized that although cuts were made in many areas at the HOMAG Group in 2009, none were made in development. The high number of innovative developments and refinements are without doubt one of the reasons for the recovery of the HOMAG Group. Knoll gave laserTec, a completely new patented chipboard processing technology, that has been very well received by customers, as an example of such innovation.
The management board also presented the financial statements for 2009, for which the majority of figures have already been reported. According to the statements, sales revenue fell 39% to EUR 524 million (prior year: EUR 856 million) and order intake fell 33% to EUR 413 million (prior year: EUR 618 million). Demand throughout the industry fell even more steeply, enabling HOMAG Group to increase its market share despite the crisis. In the course of 2009, the group was able to improve its sales revenue and order intake from quarter to quarter, with the result that the order backlog as of December 31, 2009 (EUR 171 million) was already above the prior-year value (EUR 164 million).
Despite the massive cuts implemented by the HOMAG Group by means of a number of measures to adjust capacity and reduce costs, the steep drop in sales revenue resulted in a significant decline in results. EBITDA fell to EUR 15.6 million before extraordinary expenses for restructuring measures (EUR 12.4 million) and before the effect from employee profit participation (prior year: EUR 95.0 million). EBIT before extraordinary/one-off expenses and before employee participation came to EUR -10.2 million (prior year: EUR 72.8 million) and EBT to EUR ‑19.4 million (prior year: EUR 63.0 million) on the same basis. The net loss for the year after minority interests comes to EUR ‑20.7 million (prior year: EUR 31.9 million), and earnings per share EUR ‑1.32 (prior year: EUR 2.04). In the fourth quarter of 2009, however, HOMAG Group reached a turning point and was able to generate a net profit for the period allocable to the shareholders of around EUR 4 million before and EUR 1 million after extraordinary expenses.
The headcount of the HOMAG Group was reduced continuously throughout 2009 as a result of the measures to adjust capacity being implemented. As of year-end, the company had 4,954 employees including BENZ GmbH Werkzeugsysteme, in which a majority was acquired at the beginning of the year, or 4,743 excluding BENZ (December 31, 2008: 5,330 employees). The number of contract workers was also reduced by more than 300.
This press release contains certain statements relating to the future. Future-oriented statements are all those statements that do not pertain to historical facts and events or expressions pertaining to the future such as “believes”, “estimates”, “assumes”, “forecasts”, “intend”, “may”, “will”, “should” or similar expressions. Such future-oriented statements are subject to risks and uncertainty since they relate to future events and are based on current assumptions of the company, which may not occur in the future or may not occur in the anticipated form. The company points out that such future-oriented statements do not guarantee the future; actual results including the financial position and the profitability of the HOMAG Group as well as the development of economic and regulatory framework conditions may deviate significantly (and prove unfavorable) from what is expressly or implicitly assumed or described in these statements. Even if the actual results of the HOMAG Group including the financial position and profitability as well as the economic and regulatory framework conditions should coincide with the future-oriented statements in this press release, it cannot be guaranteed that the same will hold true in the future.