© Business | March 25, 2016

2015 the best fiscal year in Jenoptik’s recent history

The Jenoptik Group returned to profitable growth in 2015, ending the fiscal year with record figures for revenue, earnings and cash flow.
Revenue grew more than 13 percent to 668.6 million euros (prior year 590.2 million euros). Products from all three segments, including laser machines and metrology systems for the automotive industry and optoelectronic systems, helped to generate this increase, as did the settlement of a major order in the Defense & Civil Systems segment. The contribution to revenue made by Vysionics, the company acquired in 2014, and foreign currency exchange effects also boosted revenue.

“We achieved our targets and have taken a major step forward in the strategic development of the company. Operational excellence, innovation and further internationalization remain the cornerstones of our approach. In 2015, for example, we generated first major revenues with new products in communications technology, a market we previously have not served, and secured new customers from the life science industry outside Europe. More than two thirds of our revenue came from abroad in 2015,” says Jenoptik President & CEO Michael Mertin, summing up the past fiscal year.

In regional terms, North America and Europe showed the greatest growth, but revenue also increased in Asia. The revenue boost in Europe was in part due to the first-time inclusion of Vysionics, the specialist for traffic safety technology from the United Kingdom that was acquired in late 2014.

Group operating result rose at a stronger rate than revenue

With 18.7 percent, the group EBIT showed considerably stronger growth than revenue, and came to 61.2 million euros (prior year 51.6 million euros). The EBIT margin greatly improved to 9.2 percent (prior year 8.7 percent). This growth was in part due to a changed revenue mix and the contribution to earnings from Vysionics. Group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (group EBITDA) also increased at a faster rate than revenue, by 16.7 percent to 88.8 million euros (prior year 76.1 million euros). In 2015, Jenoptik generated earnings after tax of 49.9 million euros (prior year 41.6 million euros). Earnings per share rose to 0.87 euros (prior year 0.73 euros).

Order intake up on prior year

The group order intake rose by 47.5 million euros, or 8.1 percent, to 636.7 million euros (prior year 589.2 million euros). It included a major order to equip the Patriot missile defense system. At 373.4 million euros, the order backlog was down on the prior-year figure of 422.5 million euros, in part due to work on major orders scheduled for several years in the Defense & Civil Systems segment.

Net debt significantly cut

On the back of a good free cash flow, Jenoptik reduced its net debt to one of its lowest ever levels as of December 31, 2015, despite continuing to finance its strong growth, the dividend payment and the payment to the last remaining silent real estate investor. At the end of 2015, net debt came to 43.9 million euros, thus less than half the figure in the prior year (31/12/2014: 104 million euros, including liabilities to silent real estate investors).

Free cash flow improved significantly to 71.8 million euros (prior year 22.5 million euros). As a result of the earnings after tax, equity rose to 435.1 million euros (prior year 386.6 million euros). With a virtually unchanged balance sheet total (31/12/2014: 771.7 million euros), the equity ratio grew sharply to 56.6 percent (prior year 50.1 percent).

In 2015, Jenoptik expanded its financing framework to create additional leeway for future organic growth and acquisitions. The total volume of the debenture loans issued in April 2015, including existing loans, increased from 90 to 125 million euros. March 2015 also saw the conclusion of a new syndicated loan agreement for 230 million euros (previously 120 million euros).

“We took advantage of favorable conditions on the financial markets to secure financial flexibility at short notice in the future,” says Hans-Dieter Schumacher, CFO of JENOPTIK AG. In conjunction with a further rise in the equity ratio and strong cash flows, Schumacher sees this as a very good footing on which to finance scheduled future growth and new business opportunities.

Minor increase in employee numbers abroad

The number of employees (incl. trainees) at Jenoptik fell slightly in 2015, to 3,512 (31/12/2014: 3,553). The annual average number of employees (not that at December 31) rose to 3,421 (prior year 3,375).

In the course of the internationalization strategy the number of employees abroad increased to 629 (31/12/2014: 617) or 17.9 percent of the entire workforce.

Growth in revenue and earnings scheduled for 2016

The Jenoptik Group expects organic growth to generate revenue of between 680 and 700 million euros in 2016. This growth is due to be generated in the Optics & Life Science and Mobility segments. Following the increase in revenue and earnings seen in 2015, the Defense & Civil Systems segment is expected to develop at a stable rate. Group EBIT is also due to rise moderately; depending on revenue, the group EBIT margin will come in at between 9.0 and 9.5 percent. Acquisitions are not included in these forecasts but have not been ruled out for the current fiscal year.

“A solid order and project pipeline will allow us to maintain our course, even in a challenging environment,” says Jenoptik President & CEO Michael Mertin with a view to the political and economic conditions. As he adds, these are increasing in complexity for all companies and are very difficult to forecast reliably – for example regulations at European level, turmoil on the financial markets, export restrictions, ongoing developments in China and the other BRIC countries and the conflicts in the Middle East and between Russia and Ukraine.

Our medium-term planning remains unchanged: “By 2018, we aim to increase annual revenue to around 800 million euros – including smaller acquisitions – and achieve an average EBIT margin of around 9 to 10 percent over the market cycles. The share of revenue in our focus regions of the Americas and Asia/Pacific combined should then grow to over 40 percent of group revenue,” adds Michael Mertin.
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