ZEISS asserts its position in difficult environment

Revenue and earnings above the previous year – continued high level of expenditure on research and development; revenue increases to EUR 4.287 billion; EBIT reaches EUR 360 million mark; cautious outlook for fiscal year 2014/15.

In the past 2013/14 fiscal year (ended 30 September 2014) ZEISS has increased both its revenue and earnings: revenue rose to EUR 4.287 billion (last year: EUR 4.190 billion). This equated to an increase of 2%. Negative currency effects adversely impacted the revenue and earnings of ZEISS. Without these effects the increase in revenue would total 5%. Earnings (EBIT) grew by 14% to EUR 360 million (last year*: EUR 315 million). The EBIT margin lay slightly above 8% (last year*: 8%).
“Overall, 2013/14 was a successful fiscal year for the ZEISS Group,” said Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss AG. “Thanks to our broad portfolio we have remained on track to further growth despite the difficult conditions confronting us in the global economy. However, the business groups developed differently and did not meet our expectations in all cases.”
In fiscal year 2013/14 different developments were observed in the business groups. Industrial Metrology and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology reported particularly strong growth over the preceding year. Medical Technology also showed further gains despite the impact of strong currency effects on its revenue.
The revenue trend in the Consumer Optics business group fell short of expectations. The revenue of Vision Care also remained below last year’s figure. Nevertheless, the business group achieved another clear improvement in its profitability by focusing strongly on branded products. The revenue of the Microscopy business group rose by 7% after currency adjustments. However, the business group’s profitability did not lie within the target range. As a result, a comprehensive program aimed at sharpening its competitiveness was launched in the new 2014/15 fiscal year.
The ZEISS Group generates most of its revenue outside Germany. In fiscal year 2013/14 ZEISS was particularly successful in the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region with revenue totalling EUR 830 million, corresponding to an increase of 10% over the previous year (prior year: EUR 796 million) after currency adjustments. In Germany revenue amounted to EUR 514 million, the same level as the previous year (EUR 512 million).
To consolidate and expand its position as a technology leader in the different industries, ZEISS is continuing to focus strongly on research and development. In fiscal year 2013/14 the company increased its expenditure in this area by 8% over the previous year to EUR 448 million (last year*: EUR 414 million).
ZEISS invested a total of EUR 188 million in property, plant and equipment during fiscal year 2013/14 (last year: EUR 245 million). This compared to depreciations totalling EUR 152 million (last year: EUR 141 million). Gross liquidity totalled EUR 590 million (30 September 2013: EUR 681 million). “Despite a high level of investment, acquisitions and clearly discernible negative currency effects, the company’s financial position is extremely solid,” stated Thomas Spitzenpfeil, CFO of Carl Zeiss AG.
Free cash flow amounted to EUR 275 million (last year: EUR 258 million). The company’s equity amounted to over EUR 1 billion, equating to an equity ratio of around 25%.
Fiscal year 2013/14 saw a slight increase in the company’s headcount: 24,817 employees were working for ZEISS as of 30 September 2014. This was an increase of just under 200 over last year (24,623).
For fiscal year 2014/15, ZEISS expects moderate global growth with regional variations. The stagnation or slowdown currently emerging in the world economy poses new challenges to the company. “Fiscal year 2014/15 will not be an easy one. Nevertheless, we expect an overall stable development in revenue and an EBIT margin comparable to that in 2013/14,” said Kaschke. “We will reach this ambitious goal because we will continue to improve our productivity and efficiency and, at the same time, spare no effort to focus even more sharply on the needs of our customers.”