INDUS achieves high sales growth in Q1
• Sales up 7.2%, strong organic growth
• Highly profitable Construction/Infrastructure segment exceeds expectations
• Significant decline in call-off figures increases pressure on automotive series production suppliers
The INDUS Group continued its growth in the first three months of the fiscal year 2019: Group sales rose by 7.2% to EUR 437.6 million (Q1 2018: EUR 408.2 million). Organically, sales revenues grew by 6.7%. At EUR 33.6 million, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were slightly down on the previous year (EUR 35.5 million). This is in particular due to the growing pressure on the series production suppliers in the Automotive Technology segment, which is being further increased by reduced call-off figures. At the bottom line, the INDUS Group’s EBIT margin for the first three months of 2019 stood at 7.7% (Q1 2018: 8.7%).
Positive trend in four segments, Automotive Technology continues to suffer from market conditions
Four of the five segments continued to perform well, with the highly profitable Construction/Infrastructure segment exceeding expectations. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the segment’s sales revenues increased by 12.6% to EUR 86.6 million. Earnings before interest and taxes rose disproportionately by 26.6% to EUR 10.0 million. At 11.5%, the EBIT margin reached a very good level for the first quarter.
Driven by the very good order situation of the plant manufacturers, sales revenues of the Engineering segment grew by about 23% to EUR 109.3 million. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose by 2.4% to EUR 12.8 million. At 11.7%, the EBIT margin stood at a good level. Some less profitable projects prevented an even better value.
The Medical Engineering / Life Science segment generated a sales increase by 4.9% to EUR 40.9 million in the first quarter. At EUR 3.8 million, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) remained unchanged from the previous year. While most companies in this segment posted slight increases, the highly competitive product groups “non-wovens” and “surgical kits” suffered slight EBIT declines. The segment’s EBIT margin was 9.3% but will rise steadily over the course of the fiscal year.
In the first quarter of 2019, the Metals Technology segment recorded a 2.5% increase in sales revenues to EUR 108.3 million. At EUR 8.6 million, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were down EUR 2.8 million on the previous year. This decline is due to the “carbide tools and mining” area, in which rising materials procurement prices could not be fully passed on to the market. At 7.9%, the EBIT margin was nevertheless on a good course.
In the Automotive Technology segment, the general conditions for the series production suppliers deteriorated further and could not be compensated by the positive trend at the companies upstream and downstream of automotive series production. The segment’s sales revenues declined by 5.4% to EUR 92.8 million. At EUR 0.2 million, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were down EUR 2.1 million on the previous year. The segment’s EBIT margin fell to now only 0.2%. This is due in particular to the significant decline in the call-off figures at the series production suppliers and the two repositionings.
At EUR 30.1 million, earnings before taxes (EBT) of the INDUS Group were slightly down on the previous year (EUR 30.3 million). Earnings after taxes amounted to EUR 19.9 million (Q1 2018: EUR 20.0 million). Earnings per share remained constant at EUR 0.81.
Cash flow from operating activities increased by EUR 16.7 million to EUR -15.2 million in the reporting period. At EUR 95.9 million, cash and cash equivalents declined from the high level of EUR 109.6 million at the end of 2018.
Group continues to grow, Automotive Technology burdens EBIT
The challenges faced by the export-oriented German industry in 2019 will rise against the background of weaker growth forecasts and continued political risks such as the Chinese-American trade war or the Brexit issue. The majority of the portfolio companies nevertheless still operates in a largely intact economic environment. For the full fiscal year 2019, INDUS therefore expects its sales revenues to grow to between EUR 1.72 and 1.77 billion.
The problems in the automotive industry which directly affect the Group’s series production suppliers will, however, continue to increase. This is reflected in the up to 15% drop in call-off figures for the coming months. It is currently hardly possible to make reliable forecasts for this area. Against this background, the objective of achieving an annual operating income figure (EBIT) at the lower end of the range of EUR 156 to 162 million would appear very ambitious as things stand at the moment.
PARKOUR 2025: Increasing the fitness of the portfolio companies
In view of the subdued macroeconomic growth forecast and the difficult starting situation in the Automotive Technology segment, the objectives and measures of the new PARKOUR strategy program are gaining in importance. “Our main task in the coming years will be to support and actively promote the fitness of our portfolio companies,” says Dr. Johannes Schmidt, Chairman of the INDUS Board of Management. “We will focus on increasing the competitiveness and profitability of our companies by implementing programs that expand operational excellence and drive innovation.”
Acquisitions in defined industries of the future are to further strengthen the portfolio structure. “We currently see good potential for acquisitions, especially in the automation, measuring technology and control engineering segment,” adds Schmidt.
The full interim report of INDUS Holding AG for the period ended 31 March 2019 is available for download here.