KUKA achieves record result an further expands its strength in industry 4.0

22 March 2016

  • KUKA has met its guidance targets for 2015
  • Orders received up to €2.8 billion (+27.4%)
  • Sales revenues at record level of about €3.0 billion (+41.5%)
  • EBITDA up significantly by 39.8% to €259.1 million
  • EBIT up to €194.3 million before purchase price allocation for Swisslog (previous year: €141.8 million); EBIT margin thus amounted to 6.6%. Adjusted for the profits from the sale of two subsidiaries, the EBIT margin was 6.1%
  • Dividend recommendation €0.50 per share (previous year: €0.40 per share)

 

KUKA has posted record revenues for the 2015 financial year. The Group continued its profitable growth and again surpassed the key performance indicators of the previous year. Due to the high global demand for robots and automation solutions, orders received, sales revenues and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were all higher, with percentage growth rates in double figures. The orders received and sales record also benefited from the first-time consolidation of Swisslog. 

The guidance targets for 2015 were met: sales revenues totaled around €3.0 billion and thus exceeded the target value of around €2.9 billion. The EBIT margin before purchase price allocation for Swisslog was 6.6% and thus in the forecast range of 6.5 to 7.0%. “We can look back on a successful financial year 2015 in which we pushed ahead with three important growth drivers: the integration of Swisslog, the global orientation towards our strategic focus markets and our positioning in the field of Industrie 4.0,” stresses Dr. Till Reuter, CEO of KUKA AG.

Increase in orders through strategic orientation towards focus markets

Orders received reached €2,838.9 million and thus considerably exceeded the previous year’s value by 27.4% (2014: €2,229.0 million). Of this total, Robotics accounted for €891.2 million (+10.6%), Systems for €1,428.1 million ( 1.9%) and Swisslog for €551.8 million.

Record sales revenues

KUKA Group’s sales revenues increased to a total of €2,965.9 million (+41.5%), thereby reaching a new record value in 2015. In the previous year, KUKA had already achieved its best ever result of €2,095.7 million, surpassing the two billion mark for the first time. On a comparable basis – excluding Swisslog – revenues still represented a new all-time high. The divisions Robotics (€909.6 million; +9.0%) and Systems (€1,471.7 million; +14.5%) both contributed record values to this overall result. Swisslog’s contribution amounted to €620.8 million.

The increase in orders received was helped by the systematic orientation of the Sales organization to the focus markets of Automotive, Aerospace, Electronics, Consumer Goods, Metal Industry, Energy, Healthcare and  E-Commerce, which had already been initiated in the previous year. The Group reported cross-sector growth of orders received and an increase in new orders in the Service segment. Moreover, significant individual sales contracts were won from the automotive industry. About two thirds of the Swisslog division’s revenues came from warehouse logistics and one third from hospital logistics. 

In terms of regions, North America and China in particular contributed to the growth of orders received in 2015. The Robotics division also reported a substantial increase in sales revenues from the Asian market, first and foremost from China, which is now the world’s largest market for robot-based automation. Systems achieved the largest single sale of the year with a North American company in the aircraft industry.

The Group’s book-to-bill ratio, i.e. orders received in relation to sales revenues, was 0.96 at year-end 2015 (2014: 1.06), indicating a good balance between orders and revenues.
KUKA Group’s order backlog amounted to €1,639.0 million at year-end 2015. Compared to the value on the reporting date of the previous year, the order backlog decreased by 3.7% (2014: €1,702.5 million). The persistent high order backlog corresponds to over 50% of annual sales revenues. This ensures a high degree of capacity utilization for the 2016 financial year and also to some extent for 2017 thanks to long-term orders.

Good EBIT despite impact of Swisslog Integration

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for KUKA Group rose significantly by 39.8% from €185.3 million to €259.1 million in 2015. Excluding Swisslog, EBITDA amounted to €234.6 million. The EBITDA margin in 2015 was therefore 8.7%, or 10.0% without Swisslog (2014: 8.9%). After adjustment for the capital gains on the disposal of the Tools and Dies business unit and HLS Group, the EBITDA margin of KUKA Group was 8.3%. Not taking the purchase price allocation for Swisslog into account, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for KUKA Group amounted to €194.3 million (2014: €141.8 million). The EBIT margin was 6.6%. Adjusted for the effects of the purchase price allocation for Swisslog, the EBIT totaled €135.6 million with an EBIT margin of 4.6%. The EBIT includes book profits in the low double-digit million range from the sale of HLS Group and the Tools and Dies business unit. Adjustment for these divestitures results in an EBIT margin of 6.1%.

The EBITDA of Robotics increased from €112.0 million in 2014 to a new record high of €126.1 million in the period under review. The EBITDA margin of 13.9% was higher than the previous year’s figure of 13.4%. With an EBIT of €100.2 million, the Robotics division surpassed the €100 million mark for the first time (+12.7%). The EBIT margin of 11.0% was also slightly higher than the previous year’s figure (2014: 10.7%).
In the Systems division, EBITDA rose from €97.4 million in 2014 to the new record value of €135.6 million. The EBITDA margin of this division increased from 7.6% in 2014 to 9.2% in 2015. The EBIT of the Systems division rose by 43.0% from €80.2 million to €114.7 million in 2015. The EBIT margin at Systems was 7.8%. The positive margin development was primarily attributable to the strong demand and associated capacity utilization coupled with the book profits and successful implementation of the efficiency measures. Excluding the book profits, the EBIT margin was 6.9% (previous year: 6.2%).
Swisslog’s EBITDA amounted to €24.5 million and the EBITDA margin was 3.9% or, when adjusted for special expenses, 5.3%. As expected, Swisslog posted a negative EBIT of -€45.9 million including €58.7 million expenditure relating to the purchase price allocation. Before purchase price allocation, the division reported an EBIT of €12.8 million, corresponding to an EBIT margin of 2.1%. Without the integration costs of around €8 million included in this result, the EBIT margin was 3.4%. The EBIT margin exceeded 3% in both the third and fourth quarters of 2015. This reflects the successful integration of Swisslog into KUKA Group.

Earnings after taxes significantly increased

At Group level, KUKA achieved earnings after taxes of €86.3 million (2014: €68.1 million). This constitutes an increase of 26.7%, which was achieved despite the strong negative impact of the purchase of Swisslog Group. Earnings per share improved accordingly from €1.99 in the previous year to €2.39 in 2015. For this reason, the Executive Board is recommending to the Annual General Meeting a dividend of €0.50 per share for the 2015 financial year. For 2014, KUKA paid a dividend of €0.40 per share.

The free cash flow in KUKA Group was €95.7 million in 2015. In the previous year, particularly as a result of the acquisition of Swisslog Group, the free cash flow was still clearly negative at -€172.2 million. Adjusted for the effects of this acquisition, the free cash flow in 2014 was €89.8 million.

Equity increased by 35.4% to €732.5 million as of December 31, 2015 (2014: €541.1 million). The high earnings after taxes, the differences due to currency translation and the conversion of units in the convertible bond into 2.8 million new KUKA shares all contributed to this development. Despite the 20.3% growth of the balance sheet total, KUKA achieved an increase in the equity ratio from 27.3% in the previous year to 30.8%.

Personnel growth in strategically important areas 

The total number of employees in the entire Group at year-end 2015 was 12,300 (2014: 12,102) despite the sale of the Tools and Dies business unit and HLS Group. New personnel was recruited above all on account of the growth in the strategically important regions of China and North America. Personnel was also stocked up in the area of research and development in order to expand our strength in Industrie 4.0 in the dynamic, international competitive environment.

Anticipated sales growth primarily due to high demand from North America and China

Given the current economic forecasts and general conditions, KUKA expects high demand in the 2016 financial year, particularly from the North America and Asia regions, and here especially from China. Demand in Europe is expected to remain relatively stable overall. From a sector perspective, a positive development is predicted for the general industry market. This is due in part to the low penetration rate of robot-based automation in some areas and in part to new robot types and technologies enabling the efficiency of production stages previously characterized by a low degree of automation to be improved. Automotive customers have already significantly increased investments over the past few years. Demand in 2016 should therefore develop relatively stable altogether, with positive development in the USA and China. 

On the basis of the current general conditions and exchange rates, KUKA is expecting sales revenues of more than €3.0 billion in fiscal 2016. Both customer segments – general industry and automotive – and from a regional viewpoint, China and North America, should make a positive contribution to sales development. Given the current economic environment and anticipated sales development, KUKA Group expects to achieve an EBIT margin of more than 5.5% before purchase price allocation for Swisslog. 

In 2016, the EBIT margin is likely to be affected by growth investment in the Group-wide development of solutions for Industrie 4.0, in general industry and in China. Higher costs are additionally expected in connection with the development and launch of new products. The introduction of project lifecycle management software at Systems and ERP software to be used throughout the Group will result in slightly high costs in 2016 than in 2015, but in subsequent years these will help make a considerable improvement in efficiency. The expenditure for purchase price allocation at Swisslog should amount to about €10 million in 2016 and thus be significantly lower than in the previous year.

The complete annual report for 2015 is available on the Internet under Reports and presentations


Our focus in 2016 is clearly on the digitization of production and logistics. KUKA not only offers the technologies and products for the Smart Factory but also has the requisite process expertise. We are continuing to work on new business models and possibilities for using data together with our customers via platforms. We will shape the digital transformation together with our customers and partners. In 2016 we are anticipating sales revenues of more than €3 billion, with an EBIT margin of more than 5.5% before purchase price allocation on account of increased investment in Industrie 4.0.

Dr. Till Reuter, CEO KUKA AG

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