Following the economic downturn in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic, KUKA has shown initial signs of recovery in the third quarter of 2020. The volume of orders received increased significantly between July and September to €752.4 million, up 20.4% on the third quarter of 2019 (€624.8 million) and 36.4% on the previous quarter (Q2/20: €551.7 million). The book-to-bill ratio, i.e. orders received in relation to sales revenues, came in at 1.09 (Q3/19: 0.75), indicating the recovery in the past quarter.
Compared with the losses in the first half-year, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) improved significantly to €7.6 million. EBIT showed a decrease on the prior-year quarter (Q3/19: €35.6 million). Sales revenues fell by 16.9% to €692.0 million. The reason for the decline in EBIT and revenues was the considerably lower volume of orders received in the first half-year due to the coronavirus pandemic. KUKA was quick to take disciplined efficiency measures to counteract this and, despite considerably reduced revenues in the third quarter, managed to stay in the black and achieve a positive free cash flow of €58.8 million for the quarter (Q3/19: -€13.9 million). “We initiated the correct measures at an early stage and worked on our costs. The effects are now starting to show. In this way, we were able to dampen the massive effects of the coronavirus pandemic to a certain extent,” said Peter Mohnen.
The situation nevertheless remains tense. The worsening of the COVID-19 situation could lead to renewed business restrictions and further customer restraint. Altogether, sales revenues amounted to €1,860.8 million in the first nine months, corresponding to a decrease of 21.6% on the previous year. The Group’s EBIT was down year-on-year to
-€70.5 million (9M/19: €81.4 million). The EBIT margin fell to -3.8% in the first nine months of 2020.
“Challenging months lie ahead of us with major uncertainties as to how the pandemic and the general economic situation will develop,” said Peter Mohnen. “We are continuing to examine closely where we can position ourselves even more effectively. We must work hard to adjust to the changes brought about by COVID-19 and to support our customers as a strong partner. After all, robotics and automation offer great potential and gain more and more importance right now.”
The complete report for the third quarter of 2020 can be downloaded here.