Interim Report as of March 31, 2015

06 May 2015

Strong start for KUKA in 2015

 

  • Orders received on Group level rose 20.9 percent to the record value of €743.9 million (Q1/14: €615.2 million).
  • Sales revenues totaled €719.8 million, surpassing the previous year’s value by 55.6 percent (Q1/14: €462.5 million).
  • EBITDA increased from €37.4 million (Q1/14) to €59.5 million (Q1/15).
  • The EBIT margin before the depreciation effects of the Swisslog purchase price allocation reached 6.3 percent after 5.9 percent in Q1/14; including purchase price allocation, the EBIT margin is 3.9
  • percent.
  • Earnings after taxes were €15.3 million (+25.4 percent).
  • Guidance 2015 confirmed: sales revenues around €2.8 billion and EBIT margin around 5.5 percent before purchase price allocation.

KUKA started 2015 with a strong first quarter. In the first three months, the Group reported orders received at a record level of €743.9 million. Compared with the same period in the previous year (Q1 /14: €615.2 million) this represents growth of 20.9 percent. Swisslog accounted for €110.4 million of this amount, which means that a quarterly record was achieved in organic terms as well.
Robotics won orders received with a total volume of €244.1 million (Q1/14: €235.6 million). At €104.9 million, the share of general industry business was up 34.1 percent on the same quarter in the previous year. Orders received from the automotive industry amounted to €94.0 million and included major orders placed by European OEMs. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2014, automotive business picked up strongly (+45.1 percent). Orders received by Robotics in the first quarter of 2015 were 43.0 percent from general industry (Q1/14: 33.2 percent), 38.5 percent from the automotive sector (Q1/14: 47.5 percent) and 18.5 percent from service business (Q1/14: 19.3 percent).

At the end of the first quarter, Systems reported orders received valued at €399.3 million (Q1/14: €383.6 million). The 4.1 percent increase is attributable particularly to orders for automation solutions for body-in-white production, mostly in North America.

KUKA Group’s sales revenues climbed to a record high of €719.8 million in the first three months of 2015, thereby topping the figure for the corresponding period of the previous year by 55.6 percent (Q1/14: €462.5 million). Even if Swisslog is disregarded, accounting for sales of €146.8 million, there was still growth of 23.9 percent. KUKA benefited from the high volumes of orders received in previous quarters.

In the Robotics division, both the automotive sector and general industry contributed to the high sales revenues of €235.0 million. That represents an increase of 20.8 percent on the first quarter of 2014 (Q1/14: €194.5 million).
The Systems division generated a sales volume of €349.9 million, 28.6 percent higher than the comparable figure from the previous year (Q1/14: €272.1 million). This development was driven primarily by business in North America from a regional perspective and by the automotive industry in terms of sectors.

“KUKA can look back on a strong first quarter. This was due not only to our strong automotive business but also to the high demand from general industry,” said Dr. Till Reuter, CEO of KUKA AG. “Our priority now is to continue gearing our technologies towards Industry 4.0. That’s because Industry 4.0 offers new opportunities for the automation required for engineering the intelligent, networked factory of the future.”

The book-to-bill ratio, i.e. orders received in relation to sales revenues, came in at 1.03 in the past quarter (Q1/14: 1.33) and was 1.11 on an organic basis.
As the orders received exceeded the sales revenues in the quarter under review, the order backlog within the Group also increased and by March 31, 2015, had reached a value of €1,842.2 million (December 31, 2014: €1,702.5 million). Swisslog contributed €512.7 million to this amount.

The order backlog for Robotics as of March 31, 2015, disregarding the framework contracts won especially in the automotive segment, was €263.1 million. That means this value is 17.1 percent lower than at the previous year’s reporting date (March 31, 2014: €317.4 million), but 8.9 percent higher than at the end of 2014 (December 31, 2014: €241.5 million). At the end of the first quarter of 2015, the order backlog of the Systems division totaled €1,075.8 million and was thus 23.3 percent up on the previous year (March 31, 2014: €872.7 million).

In the first quarter of 2015, KUKA Group achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of €59.5 million, a 59.1 percent increase compared to the same quarter of the previous year (Q1 /14: €37.4 million).

The EBIT margin for the Group was 3.9 percent in the first three months of 2015 (Q1/14: 5.9 percent). Depreciation in the course of purchase price allocation was taken into account here to the extent of €17.5 million. Excluding this depreciation, the EBIT margin was 6.3 percent. The operating divisions performed well from an organic point of view and were able to more than compensate for additional costs such as those attributable to the new Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software at Systems. The EBIT margin of the Robotics division rose from 9.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 11.0 percent in the first quarter of 2015, while that of the Systems division was up from 4.3 percent to 6.0 percent.

The number of employees by KUKA Group increased by 31.3 percent from 9,392 to 12,331 in the first quarter of 2015. This growth was primarily due to the acquisition of Swisslog. As at March 31, 2015, Swisslog employed 2,406 people.

OUTLOOK

Given the current economic forecasts and general conditions, KUKA expects high demand in the 2015 financial year, 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. From a sector perspective, general industry growth is expected to be strong. This is due in part to the high potential for automation solutions as well as the positive economic prospects for general industry customers.

Automotive customers have already significantly increased investments over the past few years. Demand in 2015 should therefore develop relatively stably altogether, with positive influences from China and the United States.

On the basis of the current general conditions and exchange rates, KUKA is expecting sales revenues of approximately € 2.8 billion. The sales development will profit from the first-time consolidation of Swisslog. In addition, both customer segments – general industry and automotive – and from a regional viewpoint, China and North America, will make a positive contribution to sales development. Based on the current economic general conditions and the development of sales, KUKA Group expects to achieve an EBIT margin of around 5.5% before PPA (purchase price allocation) for Swisslog. Investments in growth in general industry and China as well as the integration and restructuring costs for Swisslog are having an impact on the EBIT margin. In addition, the introduction of project lifecycle management software at Systems and ERP software to be used throughout the Group will result in higher costs during 2015, but in subsequent years they will help make further improvements in efficiency. Having regard to the expenditure for PPA, KUKA Group expects a lower EBIT margin. In the coming years, after restructuring and an increase in efficiency at Swisslog, a positive contribution to value added is anticipated for KUKA Group.

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