Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR
Luterbach, Switzerland – 6 December 2022 – The Schaffner Group grew its net sales from continuing operations by 7.4% to CHF 158.2 million in fiscal year 2021/22. Excluding currency translation effects, the increase was 10.5%. The growth engine was the excellent Industrial business, while the Automotive division was held back by the semiconductor shortage in the automobile industry. Despite extraordinary logistics costs, higher raw material prices and the temporary closure of production in Shanghai amid the COVID-19 lockdown in China, the Group’s EBIT of CHF 15.4 million – corresponding to an EBIT margin of 9.7% – was only slightly below the medium-term margin target range. In view of the uncertainties regarding the future economic trend, Schaffner is currently refraining from issuing guidance on business performance in the new fiscal year.
“2021/22 was a challenging, an intense and a successful year for the Schaffner Group,” says Marc Aeschlimann, Chief Executive Officer. “The challenges lay in supply chain bottlenecks, price spikes in freight rates and raw materials, and the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine. Overcoming these hurdles and, at the same time, satisfying the very strong demand from the Industrial markets required extraordinary commitment from all employees. We had to rapidly increase our production capacity to be able to deliver, adjust our price structure to the higher costs, ensure the availability of materials, and find alternative ways and means of transportation.”
Sales growth above target
The Schaffner Group managed effectively through this environment and thus had a successful fiscal year 2021/22. In continuing operations (i.e., excluding the Power Magnetics division sold in the prior year), the Group achieved growth of 7.4% to net sales of CHF 158.2 million in fiscal year 2021/22 (prior-year continuing operations: CHF 147.3 million). The growth rate thus exceeded the 5% mark identified by Schaffner as the medium-term target. Excluding currency translation effects, the sales increase even amounted to 10.5%. The negative currency translation impact of 3.1 percentage points resulted primarily from the depreciation of the euro against the Swiss franc and, to a lesser degree, from the weaker Chinese yuan. Order intake (new orders) in continuing operations rose by 2.3% to CHF 174.3 million, for a book-to-bill ratio of 1.10.
Particularly strong growth in the reporting period was achieved in the Americas region, where sales jumped by 58.4%. One reason for this was that, in the Industrial business in the USA, Schaffner gained several new customers, thanks to better availability of product and faster delivery times than competitors could offer. While the Asia region, with 13.1% growth in net sales, trended approximately in line with the Schaffner Group as a whole, Europe saw a sales decrease of 4.2% owing to the greater role played by the automotive sector in this region.
Growth surge in the Industrial division
The Industrial division had an outstanding fiscal year 2021/22. Net sales climbed by a strong 18.3% to CHF 128.5 million (prior year: CHF 108.6 million); in fact, at constant currencies the increase would have been 21.4%. The sales growth occurred across all market segments and regions. To satisfy the strong customer demand, Schaffner substantially expanded capacity at the plants in China and Thailand, by more than 50% at its peak. Thanks to this high degree of flexibility in manufacturing, the Industrial division was ready to deliver at all times during the year under review. Schaffner was able to largely pass on the marked rise in raw material prices and the high logistics costs to customers.
Automotive division held back by supply bottlenecks
For the Automotive division, fiscal 2021/22 was an extremely demanding year. Compared to the high base of the prior year, net sales declined by 23.1% to CHF 29.7 million (2020/21: CHF 38.7 million). Although the automotive industry continued to record good demand for new vehicles and a high order backlog, auto makers were not able even to come close to producing the quantities ordered, due to bottlenecks in the supply of semiconductor chips and other key components, such as cable harnesses. Some car companies were even forced to shut down production for months. As a consequence, they needed significantly fewer Schaffner components than they had originally planned. Strategy implementation made progress in the year despite the challenging environment. For example, the Automotive division won further new orders for EMC filter solutions for electric vehicles – including business from car manufacturers that had not previously been Schaffner customers.
Profitability improved in the course of the year
With EBIT of CHF 15.4 million, corresponding to an EBIT margin of 9.7%, the Schaffner Group achieved a solid result that was only slightly below the medium-term margin target range. Compared to the previous year’s operating EBIT of CHF 18.2 million (EBIT before goodwill recycling), there was a decline of 15.5%, which was attributable to the drastically higher logistics costs at the beginning of 2022 – some of which doubled – and to the increased raw material prices.
Added to this was the large-scale lockdown in China, which lasted from the end of March to the beginning of June, longer than officially announced. The cordoning-off of entire economic regions prevented access to local markets, which affected both the Industrial and the Automotive division. In addition, the Group was confronted with the temporary closure of its manufacturing operation in Shanghai and delays in deliveries of Schaffner products. Schaffner was only able to catch up with the resulting backlog fully in the new fiscal year 2022/23.
Passing on higher raw material prices and optimizing logistics cost brought a substantial earnings improvement in the second half of 2021/22. Accordingly, the EBIT margin increased from 9.0% in the first six months of 2021/22 to 10.5% in the second half of the year. Net profit for fiscal 2021/22 was CHF 12.6 million. Earnings per share (EPS) reached CHF 19.99.
Sound equity base, good ROCE
As of 30 September 2022, the Schaffner Group registered an increase in net working capital to CHF 37.2 million, from CHF 25.6 million one year earlier. This was due to higher inventories, as comparatively more goods were in transit to customers. Schaffner deliberately relies more on sea freight than air freight in order to save shipping costs and emissions. In addition, raw material inventories were increased on a selective basis to ensure material availability.
The inventory build-up was also the main reason for the negative free cash flow of CHF 2.2 million. The capital expenditures of CHF 5.8 million went primarily to capacity expansion, the industrialization of projects in the Automotive division, and a solar roof for the factory in Thailand.
The Schaffner Group remains very soundly financed. Equity stood at CHF 69.9 million at the end of the fiscal year, with an equity ratio of 57.8%. The net cash position as of 30 September 2022 was CHF 3.9 million. Despite significantly higher capital employed, ROCE (return on capital employed) reached a robust 24%.
The Board of Directors of Schaffner Holding AG will propose at the Annual General Meeting on 10 January 2023 to pay a total dividend of CHF 9.00 per share for fiscal year 2021/22. The planned distribution will consist of an ordinary dividend of CHF 4.50 per share from retained earnings and a distribution (exempt from withholding tax) of CHF 4.50 per share from the distributable share premium reserve.
Markus Heusser proposed as new Chairman of the Board of Directors
In addition, at the upcoming Annual General Meeting the Board of Directors will propose Markus Heusser for election as the new Chairman of the Board. Markus Heusser has several years of experience as chairman and member of boards of directors. He also possesses many years of management experience with internationally operating Swiss industrial companies. The Board of Directors is convinced that Markus Heusser brings the capabilities and extensive experience to ensure the further successful strategic development of the Schaffner Group.
Subject to shareholder approval, he will succeed Urs Kaufmann, who has decided for personal reasons not to stand for re-election after six years as Chairman. The Board of Directors and management would like to thank Urs Kaufmann for his valuable work.
First sustainability report published
At the same time as this Annual Report, the Schaffner Group is presenting its first detailed sustainability report in accordance with the internationally recognized Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standard. True to our vision that “We play a vital role in building a sustainable and electrified society – by shaping electrical power”, Schaffner’s innovative customer solutions contribute to the efficient, reliable and sustainable use of electrical energy. At the same time, the Schaffner Group also acts sustainably itself by minimizing negative impacts of its business activities on the environment, fulfilling its responsibility to employees and engaging for the good of society. Through the sustainability report, we want to publicize our objectives, measures and results in this area.
Schaffner continues to enjoy a good business performance, mainly supported by the very high order backlog from the Industrial markets. In the Automotive division, an incremental recovery has been noticeable since the summer as component bottlenecks gradually ease. The automotive sector is likely to move independently of the economic environment, as vehicles have already been ordered and therefore must be delivered.
In the Industrial markets, various sources of uncertainty are currently shaping the global economy: recession fears, high energy prices and correspondingly high inflation, possible renewed COVID-19 lockdowns, and the further course of the war in Ukraine. An economic slowdown of some degree seems likely in the coming months. Against this backdrop, it is difficult to forecast the business performance for this year as a whole. The Schaffner Group is thus refraining from providing guidance for fiscal 2022/23 at this time. However, Schaffner reaffirms its medium-term targets of organic growth of over 5% per year and an EBIT margin in the range of 10% to 12%.
1 Subject to approval by the Annual General Meeting on 10 January 2023.
Annual Report and Presentation
You can download the Annual Report 2021/22 of Schaffner Holding AG and the presentation on fiscal year 2021/22 usingthis link.
You can download the Sustainability Report of Schaffner Holding AG using this link.
The presentation of Schaffner's annual results for 2021/22 will be broadcast as a live audio webcast today, 6 December 2022, at 10:30 am. Questions can be asked via chat function. A recording will subsequently be available through the same link.
Contact 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 22investor-relationsschaffner.com