Luterbach, 6 May 2021 - In the first six months of the 2020/21 financial year, the Schaffner Group was able to take advantage of the economic recovery thanks to its solid position in its core markets and its successfully implemented projects. The automotive sector in particular, but also customers in industry, provided the stimulus for growth. With new orders of CHF 95.0 million and net sales of CHF 88.1 million, Schaffner was able to increase volumes - despite the Power Quality division focusing on key customers. Profitability saw a marked increase of 7.2 percentage points, achieving an EBIT margin of 8.0% and an EBIT of CHF 7.0 million. The Power Magnetics division will be sold following the successful turnaround; the corresponding contract was signed in mid-April. The Schaffner Group will focus on its core business of EMC solutions for promising industrial markets and e-mobility.
The first half of the 2020/21 financial year was characterised by the solid recovery of business operations in the Schaffner Group's core markets. Order intake from the industrial markets experienced continuous growth, which has actually intensified in recent months. In the automotive sector, following the COVID-19-related slowdown, a swift recovery began in autumn 2020, driven in particular by e-mobility. Only the railway and energy supply sectors continued to be characterised by cautious investment behaviour. During the reporting period, the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic affected Schaffner only to a limited extent. The Group was fully operational and was able to maintain delivery readiness at all times.
Significant increase in profitability
The Schaffner Group is reporting net sales of CHF 88.1 million for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year. This equates to a growth of 2.4% compared to the first half of the 2019/20 financial year; in local currencies, this is an increase of 3.8%. New orders totalled CHF 95.0 million. With order growth of 14.0% in the EMC division and 51.2% in the Automotive division, core business has seen some extremely positive and encouraging developments.
On account of the successful expansion of the business with higher-margin products and solutions, overall higher capacity utilization at the plants and the full effects of the structural adjustments introduced in the previous year, Schaffner was able to significantly improve profitability. The focus of the Power Quality unit on strategic key customers led, as expected, to a slight decline in sales, but also contributed to the improvement in profitability. The EBIT of CHF 7.0 million corresponds to an EBIT margin of 8.0%, compared to a margin of 0.8% in the same period the year before. The Group's net profit for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year was CHF 4.6 million.
Higher free cash flow, strong balance sheet
The Schaffner Group is reporting a positive free cash flow of CHF 11.2 million for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year, following a negative free cash flow of CHF -6.5 million in the same period the year before. In addition to higher profitability, this is also due to the fact that investments were back to normal levels after extensive investments were made in the previous year's period to expand production capacities for newly won orders. Thanks to the tight management of accounts receivable and stock, net working capital was reduced by 10.3%. The Schaffner Group is in a very solid financial position. Net debt was further reduced by CHF 10.2 million. By the end of the period, shareholders' equity totalled CHF 63.2 million, which corresponds to an equity ratio of 44.7%.
EMC division sees significant margin increase
Underpinned by its leading role in the field of electromagnetic compatibility, the EMC division benefited in the first half of the 2020/21 financial year from the recovery of the industrial markets and the ramping up of projects that had been recently won and recorded strong order growth. Although a proportion of sales was lost as a result of the restructuring of Power Quality, the EMC division still managed to increase net sales net sales to CHF 48.3 million, which corresponds to an increase of 3.2% or 4.1% in local currencies. Thanks to better capacity utilisation at the production plants and the restructuring of Power Quality, the EMC division managed to increase the segment EBIT to CHF 7.1 million. The EBIT margin was hence increased from 8.3% in the year before to 14.6%.
Growth spurt in the Automotive division
Supported by the recovery in the automotive sector, which was driven primarily by strong growth in e-mobility, the Automotive division has managed to significantly grow its business. In addition to ramping up projects that had been recently won, Schaffner was able to execute additional special projects for automotive manufacturers. The Automotive division increased net sales in the first half of the 2020/21 financial year by 33.2% to CHF 21.8 million. Successfully expanding the product portfolio with filter solutions and magnetic components meant that the proportion of products relating to e-mobility in the segment's sales was further increased to 34%. The segment EBIT reached CHF 2.2 million, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 9.9%.
Power Magnetics division to be sold following turnaround
Over the first six months of the financial year, the Power Magnetics division continued to face COVID-19-related cautious investment behaviour in the railway and energy supply sectors. An improvement was only evident towards the end of the reporting period. Net sales of the Power Magnetics division fell in the first half of the 2020/21 financial year by 21.3% to CHF 17.9 million. In local currencies, this decline was 18.0%. Despite low volumes, the gross margin was further improved, meaning that the Power Magnetics division achieved a positive EBIT of CHF 0.4 million, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 2.0%.
In view of low synergies with the core business, the Power Magnetics Division will be sold to the Swedish AQ Group after the successful turnaround. The divestment will be made at an enterprise value of CHF 22.4 million and is expected to be closed towards the end of the second quarter of 2021. The transaction will result in a one-time cash-neutral goodwill recycling of CHF 14.9 Mio. The Schaffner Group will focus on its core business of EMC solutions for industrial markets and for e-mobility and invest the funds resulting from the sale into the expansion of these activities.
The Schaffner Group assumes that the recovery of the overall economy and the positive trend in its core markets will continue in the second half of the 2020/21 financial year. Demand for products and solutions for industrial markets is likely to remain high. In the automotive sector, Schaffner expects to see further dynamic development both in terms of existing core business and the ramping up of new projects. The investment environment in the rail and electrical infrastructure sectors is also expected to improve, from which Schaffner will benefit.
In view of this, the Schaffner Group expects to generate net sales of at least CHF 170 million in fiscal 2020/21. This corresponds to growth in core business of almost 15%. With regard to the Power Magnetics division, this forecast takes into account net sales for the first nine months as the divestment is expected to be closed towards the end of the current quarter. The volumes in the second half of the year will ensure that Schaffner can maintain profitability at a good level. A slight negative impact is likely to be felt on account of increases in prices of raw materials and logistics costs. The Schaffner Group expects to achieve a double-digit EBIT margin in the second half of the year. This will further improve the EBIT margin before goodwill recycling for the full year 2020/21 compared to the first six months.
 In accordance with Swiss GAAP FER 30, Schaffner has in the past offset goodwill from acquisitions against equity. The accounting rules of Swiss GAAP FER require that, in the event of a disposal of a business unit, the related goodwill is recycled through the income statement. In this context, Schaffner expects due to the sale of the Power Magnetics Division a one-time cash-neutral expense of CHF 14.9 million as goodwill recycling. The Schaffner Group's equity will not be affected by the goodwill recycling.
Key financials of the Schaffner Group
For the first six months (1 October to 31 March)
You can access and download the half-year report 2020/21 of Schaffner Holding AG using this link.
You can access and download the presentation on the 2020/21 half-year results via this link.
Analyst and media conference
Today May 6, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (CET), Schaffner Holding AG will host a conference call and a live audio webcast for media and analysts (in German).
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Schaffner Holding AG, Investor Relations and Media Office: c/o Dynamics Group, Zurich Thomas Balmer, +41 79 703 87 28 investor-relationsschaffner.com