First Sensor Closes 2016 at Upper End of Expectations
- Sales rise to EUR150.1 million, EBIT margin reaches 6.7%
- Fiscal year 2017 impacted by the scheduled expiration of a major order in the Mobility segment at the end of last year: Guidance for 2017 forecasts sales of EUR140-145 million, EBIT margin of 5-6%
First Sensor AG, a developer and manufacturer of standard products and customer-specific solutions in the growth market of sensor systems, increased its sales by 9.0% to EUR150.1 million in fiscal year 2016 (previous year: EUR137.7 million). The EUR150 million mark was thus exceeded for the first time and a figure at the upper end of the forecast (EUR145-150 million) was achieved. With percentage increases of between 29.2% and 17.8% compared to the previous year, the Medical and Mobility segments made a particularly significant contribution to this positive development.
"The growth achieved in the past fiscal year not only shows that we are continuing to participate in the strong growth of sensor technology, a key technology that is essential to many innovations in different industries. In addition, this success is also the result of our commitment to excellence," says Dr. Dirk Rothweiler, CEO of First Sensor AG. "For us, this begins with customer collaboration. We use our technological expertise and application know-how to help our customers develop the right product or find a customized solution. But excellence also means ensuring efficiency at all stages of the value chain with clear processes. This gives rise to powerful sensors and sensor systems with tailored features that guarantee sustainable success for both us and our customers."
The company thus achieved an EBIT margin of 6.7% in 2016, also putting it at the upper end of its forecast (6-7%). This equates to EBIT of EUR10.0 million. EBITDA amounted to EUR19.4 million, corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 12.9%. "With this result, we have demonstrated that First Sensor is capable of translating the volume of business into a significant improvement in profitability. This achievement is even more important to us, and no doubt also to our shareholders, than the increase in sales," says Dr. Mathias Gollwitzer, CFO of First Sensor AG. "It indicates that our activities aimed at improving processes and increasing efficiency are starting to bear fruit. And it also shows that we are coming closer step by step to our goal of achieving an EBIT margin of 10%."
However, this positive business development will be impacted by the scheduled expiration of a major order in the Mobility segment at the end of last year. To compensate for this, internal growth of as much as EUR10 million will first have to be achieved over the course of the year. Consequently, the Management Board is expecting a sales level in the region of EUR140 million to EUR145 million in fiscal year 2017. This already takes into account that the launch of new products may result in delays on the customer's end. The Management Board is planning to generate an EBIT margin of 5% to 6% in fiscal year 2017. The margin target is thus at the level of the original EBIT forecast for fiscal year 2016 despite the lower sales guidance compared to 2016.
In the industrial target market, a decline in sales of 2.2% to EUR72.5 million (previous year: EUR74.1 million) was recorded in the past fiscal year. This target market thus accounts for 48% of sales (previous year: 54%). However, the difference in sales of EUR1.6 million was far more than offset by the business performance in the other two sales markets. Particularly strong growth was recorded in the medical target market, where sales rose by 29.2% to EUR30.7 million (previous year: EUR23.8 million). Its share of total sales thus reached 21% (previous year: 17%). The mobility target market also developed positively, with sales rising by 17.8% to EUR46.9 million (previous year: EUR39.8 million). This represents 31% of total sales (previous year: 29%).
Incoming orders and orders on hand
Incoming orders amounted to just EUR132.9 million after EUR142.3 million in the previous year. This was largely due to a major order from an automobile manufacturer that expired as scheduled in 2016. The book-to-bill ratio came to 0.89 (previous year: 1.03) for reporting-date-related reasons. As a result of the high level of sales in fiscal year 2016, orders on hand fell from EUR90.7 million to EUR82.2 million over the course of the year (-9.4%).
Statement of financial position and cash flow
Total assets increased to EUR154.0 million in fiscal year 2016 (previous year: EUR153.5 million). As a result of the retained earnings for fiscal year 2016, the equity ratio rose to 50.3% (previous year: 46.4%). Cash and cash equivalents amounted to EUR23.8 million at the end of the year (previous year: EUR21.5 million). Working capital was reduced further despite the rise in sales and amounted to EUR35.7 million as at the end of 2016 (previous year: EUR36.5 million). Cash flow from operating activities increased by EUR11.6 million year-on-year from EUR5.0 million to EUR16.6 million. It was positively influenced in particular by the higher earnings before taxes of EUR8.7 million (previous year: EUR-1.2 million). Free cash flow reached EUR10.0 million (previous year: EUR-1.8 million), the highest figure in the company's history. In the current fiscal year, the company plans to make investments of between EUR8 million and EUR10 million.
The First Sensor Group had a total of 804 employees as at December 31, 2016, compared with 773 in the previous year. The workforce expansion was particularly attributable to sales, product management, and development.
Based on a survey of its mostly small and medium-sized members, the German AMA Association for Sensors and Measurement anticipates sales growth of 5.0% in the current year. This represents a year-on-year increase of 1.0%. It also expects the number of sensors used to double every five years and forecasts a long-term increase to 100 sensors for each of the world's inhabitants. In the medium and long term, the Management Board therefore continues to anticipate growth rates averaging 10% over the next few years.
"These expectations are supported not only by market data, but also by our many development projects, which are based on tangible customer requirements," says Rothweiler. "By focusing on the high-growth industrial, medical and mobility markets, we will continue to participate in trends such as Industry 4.0, autonomous driving and miniaturization of medical technology going forward and leverage these opportunities both quantitatively and qualitatively. To achieve this, we will boost sales and expand internationalization, initially continuing to focus on North America and China. We will generate further growth on this basis."
The company is tapping further potential with a strong customer focus, which it believes to be the key to success in sales and earnings. "We will focus our efforts on improving profitability in 2017 as well. For this reason, we are sticking to our motto of 'no sale at any cost'," says Gollwitzer. "This means that we accept orders only if they make an adequate contribution to earnings. In tandem with this, we will leverage further optimization potential as planned in order to gradually improve profitability to an EBIT margin of 10% over the coming years. The goal is to enhance value continuously."
First Sensor in figures
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About First Sensor AG
In the growth market of sensor systems, First Sensor develops and produces standard products and customer-specific solutions for the ever-increasing number of applications in the industrial, medical, and mobility target markets. Based on innovative technology platforms, we develop products such as chips, components, sensors, and entire sensor systems. Trends such as Industry 4.0, autonomous driving, and the miniaturization of medical technology will drive our growth extremely rapidly in the future. First Sensor was founded in Berlin 25 years ago and has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (SIS) since 1999 [Prime Standard Ι WKN: 720190 Ι ISIN: DE0007201907 Ι SIS]. For more details on First Sensor, please visit www.first-sensor.com.
Statements in this Corporate News relating to future developments are based on a prudent estimate of future events. Actual events may deviate from planned events, as they depend on a large number of market and economic factors, some of which are outside of the company's control.
The consolidated financial report is available for download on the internet at https://www.first-sensor.com/en/investor-relations/financial-publications
It is intended to publish the Q1 Interim Report on May 18th, 2017.
The annual general meeting takes place on May 24th 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at the Pentahotel Berlin
Köpenick, Grünauer Straße 1 in 12557 Berlin.
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