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KUKA continues to grow

25 March 2015

  • Guidance targets for 2014 completely fulfilled
  • Orders received totaling €2.2 billion – over €2 billion for the first time; sales revenue rose to €2.1 billion (+18.1 percent)
  • EBITDA up to €184.9 million (+16.7 percent); EBIT margin at 6.8 percent (constant)
  • Dividend recommendation €0.40 per share (previous year €0.30 per share)
  • Integration of Swisslog continuing apace
  • Targets for 2015: Sales revenue around €2.8 billion and EBIT margin around 5.5% before purchase price allocation
  • Targets for 2020: Sales revenue €4-4.5 billion and EBIT margin over 7.5 percent

In 2014, KUKA clearly surpassed the previous year’s key figures. Due to the high global demand for robots and automation solutions, orders received, sales revenue and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were all higher, with percentage growth rates in double figures. The group fully met the guidance targets for 2014: sales revenue totaled around €2.1 billion and was thus over the target value of around €2.0 billion. At 6.8 percent, the EBIT margin was also above the forecast estimate of 6.5 percent.

General Industry business expanded to over 50 percent

“We not only achieved outstanding results in 2014, we also set a strategically important course: the acquisitions of Reis and Alema and the purchase of Swisslog have helped us to diversify further, gain access to new markets and expand our General Industry business to over 50 percent of sales revenue. We have continued to invest intensively in research and development, thereby increasing our innovative strength. The course is thus set for further growth,” said Dr. Till Reuter, CEO of KUKA AG.

Increase in orders through acquisitions and organic growth

Orders received reached €2,229.0 million and thus considerably exceeded the previous year’s value (2013: €1,881.9 million). Both divisions contributed to the organic growth. Robotics recorded orders received totaling €805.5 million. This is equivalent to a plus of 1.5 percent on the previous year’s result of €793.5 million. Systems saw orders received increase to €1,456.0 million (2013: €1,111.6 million). Systems registered strong demand, particularly from the North American automotive industry, but also from leading automotive manufacturers in Germany, China and Brazil. The division also won major contracts from the aerospace sector.

Increased sales revenue

Sales revenue of the KUKA Group increased to a total of €2,095.7 million in the financial year 2014. This was some 18.1 percent higher than the previous year’s level (2013: €1,774.5 million). The newly-acquired companies Reis Group and Alema contributed €135.8 million of sales revenue, so organic sales revenue also reached an all-time high at €1,959.9 million. This corresponds to organic growth of 10.4 percent on the previous year. The Robotics division saw a 10.7 percent increase in sales revenue to €834.6 million (2013: €754.1 million). The Systems division increased sales revenue from €1,045.9 million in 2013 to €1,285.6 million in the financial year 2014. This corresponds to an increase of 22.9 percent. Systems thus achieved sales revenue in excess of one billion euro for the third year running. This includes the sales share of the acquired companies, Reis Group and Alema, totaling €135.8 million. In organic terms, Systems increased its sales revenue to €1,149.8 million

As in the previous year, the book-to-bill ratio, i.e. orders received in relation to sales revenue, was once again over 1 at the end of the year. The latest figure of 1.06 signals high capacity utilization.
KUKA Group’s order backlog amounted to €1,702.5 million at the end of 2014. 

Compared with the reference value for the previous year, this corresponds to an increase of 71.7 percent (December 31, 2013: €991.6 million). The new companies acquired contributed a total of €642.6 million. This also includes Swisslog due to the initial consolidation on December 31, 2014. Robotics had an end-of-year order backlog (not including frame contracts with the automotive industry) of €241.5 million (December 31, 2013: €280.7 million). The order backlog at Systems rose significantly to €955.4 million (previous year: €714.4 million).

EBIT margin at previous year’s level despite acquisitions

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for the KUKA Group exceeded €100 million for the third year running. In the year under review, EBIT rose by 17.9 percent to €142.0 million (2013: €120.4 million). The EBIT margin of 6.8% was the same as the previous year despite the acquisitions and associated restructuring costs at Reis. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) rose in financial year 2014 to €184.9 million (2013: €158.4 million). Robotics considerably surpassed the previous year’s result of €77.1 million with an EBIT of €89.5 million. At 10.7 percent, the EBIT margin was also above that of the previous year (2013: 10.2 percent). EBITDA of Robotics rose from €101.9 million in 2013 to the new record value of €112.0 million in the year under review. The EBITDA margin of 13.4 percent almost equaled the previous year’s result. KUKA Systems generated an EBIT of €80.2 million in 2014 (2013: €60.8 million). The EBIT margin was 6.2 percent – representing a year-over-year rise of 0.4 percent. The EBIT margin for Systems without the acquisitions even reached 7.6 percent. This increase is primarily attributable to improved process structures, the expansion of competence centers in countries with lower cost structures and the high capacity utilization. EBITDA of Systems rose from €71.0 million in 2013 to €97.4 million in the year under review. The EBITDA margin increased from 6.8 percent in 2013 to 7.6 percent in 2014.

Earnings after taxes significantly increased

At Group level, KUKA achieved earnings after taxes of €68.1 million (2013: €58.3 million). This corresponds to an increase of 16.8 percent. Adjusted to take into consideration the one-off costs of around €18 million for the early redemption of the high-yield bond, the earnings after taxes would have risen to over €80 million (+38 percent on the previous year). Earnings per share improved accordingly from €1.72 (2013) to €1.99 (2014). For this reason, the Executive Board is recommending to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of €0.40 per share for the financial year 2014. This represents a rise of 33.3 percent on the previous year.

The free cash flow in the year under review was affected by the company acquisitions, and in particular the purchase of Swisslog, and achieved a negative value of -€198.5 million (2013: €95.4 million). Adjusted to take the effects of the acquisitions into consideration, the organic positive free cash flow for 2014 was €89.8 million.

Primarily as a result of the capital increase, the net profit and currency conversion differences, equity capital as at December 31, 2014, rose by 42.7 percent to €541.1 million. The increase in equity capital was thus proportionate to the balance sheet total. The equity ratio thus remained virtually constant at 27.3 percent (2013: 27.5 percent).

Growth in workforce through acquisitions and organic growth

Due to the acquisitions of Reis, Alema and Swisslog, the workforce of the KUKA Group has grown significantly. The number of employees also rose due to new hires, particularly in China, North America and Germany. At the end of 2014, the Group’s workforce totaled 12,102. This corresponds to an increase of 51.5 percent on the previous year’s figure of 7,990. Around 85 percent of the new employees work for the newly acquired companies Swisslog (2,369 employees), Reis (1,032 employees) and Alema (87 employees).

Expected growth in sales revenue due to Swisslog consolidation and organic growth

The KUKA Group expects the current economic trend to have positive effects on sales revenue. Given the current economic forecasts and general conditions, KUKA expects high demand in the financial year 2015, particularly from the North America and Asia regions, and especially from China. Demand in Europe is expected to remain relatively stable or to rise slightly.

On this basis, KUKA is expecting total sales revenue of around €2.8 billion for the financial year 2015. Moreover, the two customer segments General Industry and Automotive, and the key regions of China and North America, are expected to make a positive contribution to sales development. EBITDA should improve to over EUR 200 million in 2015. Investment for growth in new industries, in global processes and IT structures, and in the Chinese market is expected to have a negative impact on the EBIT margin in the current financial year 2015, as are the integration and restructuring costs for Swisslog. The Group expects to achieve an EBIT margin of around 5.5 percent before purchase price allocation for the Swisslog acquisition. KUKA is aiming to achieve rapid integration of Swisslog into the KUKA Group. The targeted EBIT margin will be reduced from 5.5 percent to an expected 3.5 percent due to a regular writedown of assets totaling around EUR 60 million identified as part of the purchase price allocation following the purchase of Swisslog Holding AG.

KUKA will benefit from the global trend towards automation and is expecting strong impetus and growth, particularly in the fields of production and logistics. Furthermore, the Executive Board issued a 5-year outlook for the first time, in which it forecast sales revenue for the Group totaling EUR 4 to 4.5 billion for the financial year 2020 and an EBIT margin of over 7.5%.

We have set ourselves three core targets for 2015. With the integration of Swisslog, we intend to expand our General Industry business still further, strengthen our global presence still further, and further develop our innovative technologies in order to play a role in shaping the factory of the future.

Dr. Till Reuter, CEO KUKA AG

Key figures - KUKA group

Key figures - KUKA robotics

Key figures - KUKA systems