Preliminary figures first quarter 2009: Recession stresses KUKA's business performance
In the first quarter of 2009, KUKA's preliminary figures indicate orders received came in at approx. EUR 214 million, sales at approx. EUR 227 million and a break-even EBIT. During the first quarter of 2008, the comparable figures were EUR 404.3 million, EUR 280.2 million and EUR 15.8 million respectively
These results reflect the weak demand due to the global recession, from both automotive and general industry customers.
A similar development was already evident in the recently released VDMA figures, which showed a decline in orders received in the German mechanical and plant engineering sector compared to last year of 45 percent for the first two months of 2009.
KUKA addresses this trend with the cost-cutting program already introduced at the end of 2008. The goal is to reduce costs by EUR 50 million in 2009. Management is also working on achieving further savings and is consulting with the employees' representatives in this respect. Among other things, these discussions are exploring the introduction of short time work, postponement of wage increases, a review of Christmas/vacation payments and adjustment of the capacities.
Dr. Horst J. Kayser, CEO, commented as follows: "All sectors of the real economy have been impacted by the recession. As a result, we are seeing a significant downturn in our customers' capital spending, both in the automotive and general industry. We are accelerating our current cost cutting program in order to decisively address this trend. The measures are intended to help avoid the ultimate step, layoffs due to operational overcapacity, as long as possible."
KUKA continues to make adjustments and implement restructuring measures aimed at achieving a break-even to slightly positive operating profit (EBIT) and positive free cash flow in 2009 in spite of the difficult market situation.