“We were able to meet our forecasts from last year and continued the positive business development of previous years despite the difficult global economic situation. For this reason, we are satisfied with the past fiscal year,” emphasized Dr. Frank Heinricht, Chairman of SCHOTT‘s Board of Management, at the Annual Results Press Conference.
The international technology group managed to increase its sales by 5.1 percent to around 2.2 billion EUR. The operating result (EBIT), which now stands at 275 million EUR, also improved slightly. Consolidated net profit for the year amounted to EUR 206 million.
All three segments – Precision Materials, Optical Industries and Home Appliances – contributed to the successful fiscal year. Business with special glass tubing for pharmaceutical packaging and the ampoules, vials, syringes and cartridges produced from it was particularly dynamic. On the other hand, the difficult situation in the automotive industry also had an impact on SCHOTT. The Electronic Packaging division that supplies components to the automotive industry, in particular, suffered from this development. At the same time, future topics such as autonomous driving and electromobility offer new opportunities for special-purpose glasses.
Investments significantly higher, equity remained stable
Investments in property, plant and equipment amounted to 257 million EUR in the fiscal year, an increase of 38 percent over the previous year. More than half of this amount went to sites in German-speaking countries. Among other projects, the expansion of the Glass-Ceramic Competence Center at the plant in Mainz was completed to meet the high demand for ZERODUR® glass-ceramic. The expansion of the production capacity of an existing plant in India and the construction of a new plant in China were the largest foreign investments.
At the presentation of the annual results, CFO Dr. Jens Schulte pointed out that the equity ratio had remained at a solid level of 32 percent. “The company is thus in a strong financial position and has sufficient scope to achieve organic growth as well as make acquisitions,” he noted. The number of employees rose to 16,200, 5,800 of whom are based in Germany.
In the area of M&A transactions, the acquisition of the market leader MINIFAB in the past fiscal year expanded the company’s diagnostics business to include polymer solutions: The Australian company specializes in the development and contract manufacturing of microfluidics-based diagnostic products.
Outlook for fiscal year 2019/2020: expansion of capacities, setting of the course towards climate neutrality
After getting off to a good start in the first three months of its new fiscal year, SCHOTT expects sales to increase by between 3 percent and 6 percent for the year as a whole. The technology group expects impetus to come, among other areas, from demand for specialty glass for pharmaceutical packaging and ultra-thin glass for the foldable mobile devices of the future.
In fiscal year 2019/2020, SCHOTT plans to invest 320 million EUR, the highest amount in the company’s history. One main focus here will be on capacity expansions in the pharmaceutical packaging business in China and India. In Germany, SCHOTT plans to invest in its pharmaceutical packaging business in Müllheim, among other sites, as well as in its manufacturing capacities for specialty glass in Mainz and Jena.
At the same time, SCHOTT intends to intensify its efforts to protect the environment and the climate. “With a view towards responsible and sustainable further development, we have set ourselves a clear goal: We want to make SCHOTT a climate-neutral company. During this fiscal year, we will set the course for this and consistently take the appropriate measures,” said Dr. Heinricht.