LONDON Schaffner Group’s sales in Europe, the US and Japan fell by 33 percent in its 2008/09 financial year while in China orders were up 38 percent and sales 11 percent.
China made the second largest contribution to group sales after Germany with 17 percent compared with 10 percent in the previous year.
The company says while the demand for EMC components dropped virtually to zero in some target markets, particularly in the first half of the year, sales of power quality solutions rose worldwide by 9 percent in the year.
The Schaffner Group’s net sales fell by 24 percent in fiscal 2008/2009 to CHF 133.4 million (about $131 million) down from CHF 182.4 million the previous year and adjusted for currency effects. Order intake amounted to CHF 132.5 million compared with CHF 188.5 million in the previous year.
The operating result (EBIT) before restructuring costs was CHF ‑4.5 million (CHF 13.9 million). After the one-off restructuring costs of CHF 4.7 million, EBIT came to CHF ‑9.2 million, with a net result of CHF ‑10.9 million compared with CHF 9.4 million in the previous year.
Headcount fell year-on-year by 22 percent, and personnel expenses were reduced by 13 percent. The cost reduction measures are taking effect and the Schaffner Group achieved a positive EBIT before restructuring costs of CHF 0.4 million in the second half of the year, despite a 15 percent decline in sales compared with the first half.
Sales of components for machine tools and robotics fell by around 40 percent. With manufacturers of solar inverters reducing surplus inventories accumulated in the previous year, the decline in the market for renewable energies was on a similar level, at 45 percent.
In addition, new projects for solar plants were delayed, primarily due to lack of project financing. Demand from European solar inverter manufacturers has been rising again since the fourth quarter. The renewable energy market continues to offer high growth potential for the Schaffner Group while demand from Chinese wind turbine producers was particularly high.
In rail technology, Schaffner says it was able to gain share in the growing total market, leading to a 47 percent increase in sales in this area. The group supplies magnetic components in Europe and China to the five biggest manufacturers of electric drive units.
At the end of 2008, Schaffner entered the growing market for harmonic filters, which ensure interference-free power supply to buildings and infrastructure installations. In January 2009, Schaffner added the products of the newly acquired German company BETEC-Engineering to its portfolio of in-house developments.
Demand in the automotive electronics market was virtually zero at the start of the year. However, newly acquired projects have led to a significant revival since summer 2009. Production of EMC filters for hybrid and electric drives is expected to start at the end of 2009.
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