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Electronics Production | August 25, 2010

Komax improves sales

The Komax Group substantially improved sales and new orders in the first six months of 2010.
First-half sales came in at CHF 157.7 million (previous year: CHF 103.0 million). New orders more than doubled to CHF 168.5 million (previous year: CHF 82.7 million). Following the previous year's loss, the business staged a clear return to profit.

A rapid revival of business in the Wire segment enabled the Komax Group to return to profit. Driven by a strong recovery in the automotive industry, but also other markets, Komax achieved a net profit of CHF 8.6 million in the first half of 2010. This compares with a loss of CHF -11.0 million in the previous year. First-half sales rose to CHF 157.3 million (previous year: CHF 103.0 million), an increase of 53 percent. Owing to the weak euro as at 30 June 2010, the overall currency impact at sales level was a negative 2.9 percent and at EBIT level a negative 0.7 percent. New orders more than doubled year-on-year from CHF 82.7 million (previous year) to CHF 168.5 million.

The economic environment brightened in the first half of 2010 and market volatility declined significantly. The best performer was the Asia region with a rise of more than 200 percent. On a combined basis, North and South America exhibited growth in sales of around 60 percent. By contrast, growth in the Europe region was on the low side at around 5 percent – though at a high level. There are increasing signs that customers' quality demands have risen further, particularly in the automotive industry.

Sales in the Wire segment soared by around 110 percent to CHF 85.1 million (previous year: CHF 40.0 million). Accordingly, EBIT at segment level showed a disproportionately strong improvement to CHF 19.0 million (previous year: CHF -4.9 million). The recovery in the Wire segment is broad-based in geographical terms, with all markets showing gains. At product level, Komax benefited in particular from its strong innovative edge as the market leader, and from its ability to process orders with very short lead times.

The Solar business unit also posted gains. Komax benefited in particular from Asian demand for crystalline technology and the new Stringer X2. Sales in the Solar segment increased by 26 percent to CHF 28.3 million (previous year: CHF 22.5 million). Although lower silicon prices benefited the crystalline technology business, this development was negative for the thin-film business. In this area, Komax announced in June that it would be bundling its resources in York, USA. Although a pleasing EBIT was achieved in the crystalline business, the substantial loss in the thin-film business led to a loss for the Solar business unit overall. This amounted at EBIT level to CHF -3.3 million (previous year: CHF -3.4 million).

The Medtech segment was able to process a larger volume of orders. Here, too, business from Asia showed the biggest increase. First-half sales increased by 15 percent to CHF 45.0 million (previous year: CHF 39.0 million).

Owing to continued strong growth in new orders, the Komax Group expects a good second half. In the Wire segment, Komax anticipates stabilization at a high level. Having been extremely reticent last year, customers in the automotive sector in particular are now intensifying their investment activities.

At Komax Solar, the strong growth in new orders – in particular from Asia – continues. How-ever, the costs incurred by the restructuring process implemented in the thin-film business mean it is still too early to expect a positive operating profit in the Solar segment, despite the pleasing business performance and healthy profitability of the crystalline area.
In the Medtech segment, new orders received in the second quarter did not fully meet expec-tations. For the year as a whole, Komax anticipates a positive operating result in this business.

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