Luterbach, Switzerland – December 8, 2020 – Schaffner already faced declining demand in key markets in the first quarter of the fiscal year, which begins in October. This involved especially the industrial market and the automobile industry, above all in Asia and Europe. The recovery that emerged at the beginning of the second quarter was halted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the third quarter was defined by consolidation at a low level, demand picked up again in the fourth quarter in most markets. The automotive industry, in particular, showed good momentum again.
Schaffner introduced cost reduction measures early, in the first quarter, and then redoubled them as the Covid-19 situation unfolded. Resources at the plants and other sites were managed through work sharing (short-time work schemes), hiring freezes, early retirements, the reduction of overtime and of temporary employees. Departing staff was not replaced. The Power Quality business within the EMC division was comprehensively reviewed from a profitability improvement perspective. Since the middle of 2020, this product group has now been focusing on strategic key accounts.
Even during the most challenging periods of the year under review, the Schaffner Group maintained its ability to deliver at all times, while observing strict safety measures for employees. Just as consistently, the investment activities were continued, albeit with a focus on strategically important initiatives such as electromobility development projects with automobile manufacturers; less critical capital expenditures were lowered from the first quarter onward. Relative to net sales, R&D expenditure was higher than in the previous year. This underscores the Schaffner Group’s determination both to expand its position in existing core markets and, in line with its strategy, to seize opportunities arising in adjacent market segments or through new technological developments.
Clear improvement in second half of year
For fiscal year 2019/20, the Schaffner Group is reporting net sales of CHF 171.7 million, or 13.0% less than in the prior year. Besides the demanding market conditions, exchange rate movements also were unfavorable. In local currencies, the decline in sales was thus significantly smaller, at 9.1%. New orders in the fiscal year amounted to CHF 167.0 million, corresponding to a decrease of 16.8% and a book-to-bill ratio of 0.97.
With EBIT of CHF 4.7 million (prior year: CHF 9.8 million), the Schaffner Group delivered respectable earnings under the circumstances.The swiftly initiated cost cuts brought a substantial profitability improvement in the second half of the year. The EBIT margin for the fiscal year came in at 2.7%. The Group’s net profit for the period was CHF 2.7 million, versus CHF 7.2 million in the prior year. Earnings per share measured CHF 4.28.
Free cash flow was slightly negative at a deficit of CHF 0.4 million, due not least to the substantial level of investment. The Schaffner Group remains very soundly financed. Shareholders’ equity of CHF 57.0 million corresponds to a robust equity ratio of 44.5%. Despite the challenging economic environment, liquidity was ensured at all times.
At the beginning of fiscal 2019/20, the EMC division (divisions are also referred to as segments) was confronted with weaker momentum in the industrial market sector and with destocking by distribution partners. The demand improvement at the start of the second quarter was cut short by the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. An exception was the growing demand for EMC filters in the medical equipment space, particularly for use in ventilators. Some customers, fearing possible supply chain disruptions, even ordered greater quantities than usual. The EMC division maintained its readiness to deliver throughout this period. From the third quarter, the one-off influences described gave way to a normalization, leading to a better second half of the year.
On balance, the EMC division had net sales of CHF 94.9 million, off 11.2% from the prior year. On a local-currency basis, the decrease was 7.1%. Segment EBIT reached CHF 9.6 million, for an EBIT margin of 10.1%. Including the one-time costs for the restructuring of the Power Quality business – and despite the lower sales – the EMC division was thus able to hold its EBIT margin in the double digits.
The markets served by the Automotive division were subject to enormous fluctuation during the fiscal year: Following a fiscal first quarter in which the crisis in the global automobile industry already worsened, demand came to a near standstill in the second and third quarters after the eruption of the Covid-19 pandemic. Worldwide, new-car dealerships were closed, supply chains disrupted, and manufacturers compelled to stop their production lines. For some model series, production was discontinued early. The fourth quarter was marked by a strong recovery, especially in the electromobility sector. These opposing trends resulted in net sales of CHF 32.8 million for fiscal 2019/20, or 14.8% less than in the prior year. Excluding exchange rate effects, the reduction was 11.4%. The segment EBIT result was negative at a loss of CHF 2.9 million due to the depressed volume combined with high expenditures for winning and implementing new projects.
Good progress was made in executing the Automotive division’s strategy of establishing EMC filter solutions for electromobility as a second pillar alongside the successful business of antennas for keyless authentication systems. Schaffner is involved in several development projects for e-mobility platforms. The share of the division’s sales accounted for by EMC solutions for electric vehicles was greatly increased to over 25%. In the reporting period the Automotive division won orders worth more than CHF 80 million over several years – a multiple of its annual sales.
Power Magnetics division
The business performance of the Power Magnetics division in 2019/20 was shaped by numerous postponements of rail projects in China and Europe. In the USA, the division succeeded in winning its first major order in the railroad sector. The project, for a commuter train on the East Coast, will run over the next three years and already contributed to sales in the year under review.
Despite a good project pipeline, sluggish investment also prevailed in the Power Magnetics division’s other markets, which saw delays in orders. Coupled with a focus on projects with good margins, this led to a significant 15.2% decline in sales to CHF 44.0 million. In local-currency terms, the decrease was 11.3%. The division nevertheless operated efficiently in the reporting period: Thanks to sweeping cost reduction efforts, Power Magnetics, after the prior year’s loss, was able to return to profitability with segment EBIT of CHF 2.0 million.
Proposals for the Annual General Meeting
For fiscal year 2019/20 the Board will propose to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting on 12 January 2021 to make a total distribution of CHF 2.00 per share, which represents 47% of the Group’s net profit.The planned distribution consists of an ordinary dividend of CHF 1.00 per share from retained earnings and a distribution (exempt from withholding tax) of CHF 1.00 per share from the distributable share premium reserve.
The Board of Directors will propose at the Annual General Meeting to elect Andrea Tranel as a new Board member. She is to replace Georg Wechsler, who after nine years on the Board has decided not to stand for re-election. Andrea Tranel is a finance professional with a strong track record and relevant industry experience. She has been Chief Financial Officer of the electric power utility AEW Energie AG since 2017. Before, she was Head of Corporate Controlling and Deputy CFO of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), and CFO of Schneider Electric in Switzerland. Andrea Tranel holds a Diplom-Ökonom degree in business administration and economics from the University of Hohenheim (Stuttgart). The other Board members will be proposed for re-election.
In the first few months of this fiscal year, Schaffner maintained the positive trend in business performance seen toward the end of the 2019/20 reporting period. While electromobility continued to provide upside momentum, orders from industrial customers also picked up. Investment sentiment for major projects in the rail and energy sectors was still cautious. The further trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the markets served by the Schaffner Group represents a question mark.
Thanks to the measures taken and the resulting adjusted structure, Schaffner has started the new fiscal year with lower overhead costs, which will be positive for profitability. The Group continues to place a strong emphasis on operational flexibility in order to be able to react with maximum agility to changing market conditions.
Against this backdrop, Schaffner will provide a more specific outlook for fiscal year 2020/21 when presenting the half-year results. For the medium term, Schaffner’s targets are unchanged at organic growth of about 5% per year and an EBIT margin in the range of 8% to 10%.
Strategic review of the Power Magnetics division
Following the successful turnaround of the Power Magnetics division, the Board of Directors has decided to conduct a strategic review of this business. In an open-ended process during this fiscal year, the review will explore not only the operational further advancement of the Power Magnetics division but also a possible divestment.
Key financials of the Schaffner Group
Group in CHF million
Operating profit (EBIT)
in % of net sales
Net profit of the period
in % of net sales
Free cash flow
Equity ratio in %
Number of employees (headcount)
Segments in CHF million
in % of segment sales
in % of segment sales
Power Magnetics Division
in % of segment sales
Number of shares
Earnings per share (EPS) in CHF
Shareholder’s equity per share in CHF
Repayment of excess share premium, per share in CHF
Dividend per share in CHF
Total distribution per share in CHF
1Subject to approval by the Annual General Meeting on 12 January 2021
You can access and download the annual report 2019/20 of Schaffner Holding AG using this link.
You can access and download the presentation on the 2019/20 annual results via this link.
Analyst and media conference
Today December 8, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (CET), Schaffner Holding AG will host a conference call and a live audio webcast for media and analysts.
To participate in the conference call, please register here.You will then immediately receive an e-mail with the dial-in number. Please dial in 5 to 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the call.
As a participant in the conference call, you can follow the presentation here.
The presentation will be broadcast as a live audio webcast. A recording will be available afterwards at the same link.
Schaffner Holding AG, Investor Relations and Media Office: c/o Dynamics Group, Zurich
Thomas Balmer, +41 79 703 87 28
Edwin van der Geest, +41 79 330 55 22
12 January 2021
6 May 2021
7 December 2021
25th Annual General Meeting
Publication of half-year results 2020/21
Publication of annual report 2020/21