Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR
Luterbach, Switzerland, 5 May 2022 – The Schaffner Group reported a 12.5% increase in net sales from continuing operations to CHF 78.9 million for the first half of 2021/22. Adjusted for currency effects, the increase was 14.2%. The growth was achieved across all industrial markets and regions. The automotive business, however, was slowed by the ongoing semiconductor shortage. Extraordinary logistics costs and higher raw material prices meant that EBIT increased by 11.3% to CHF 7.1 million, but the EBIT margin of 9.0% could only be maintained at the level of the previous year's period (9.1%). Schaffner expects further growth in the second half of 2021/22, driven by continued strong demand from industrial markets. The EBIT margin for the full year 2021/22 is expected to reach the lower end of the medium-term target range of 10% to 12%.
The Schaffner Group saw continued strong order intake from all industrial markets and across all regions in the first half of 2021/22. Demand was supported by the general economic recovery and the backlog of investments in the aftermath of the Covid crisis. The strong momentum in the industrial markets contrasted with continued subdued performance in the automotive industry, which continued to be held back by the semiconductor shortage and, more recently, by the impact of the Ukraine crisis.
Sales growth across all regions
Overall, the Schaffner Group achieved robust growth of 12.5% in continuing operations, i.e. excluding the Power Magnetics Division sold in the previous year, to net sales of CHF 78.9 million (H1 2020/21: CHF 70.2 million). Adjusted for currency effects, this actually represented an increase of 14.2%. The negative currency impact of –1.7% points is primarily due to the devaluation of the euro against the Swiss franc. All regions grew in sales, with Europe lagging behind Asia and America due to its relatively stronger focus on the automotive sector.
To cope with high customer demand, Schaffner substantially expanded capacity at its plants in China and Thailand. As a result, Schaffner was ready to deliver at all times during the period under review. The transfer of products that had been manufactured in Hungary until the sale of the Power Magnetics Division to the Asian production sites was successfully implemented. A few selected products will continue to be produced in Hungary for Europe within the framework of contract manufacturing.
Higher operating profit despite extraordinary cost factors
Like the industry as a whole, Schaffner faced considerable challenges in logistics at the turn of 2021/2022. The shortage of transport capacity by sea and air led to massively higher logistics costs, which doubled in some cases. This represented a significant cost factor for the Schaffner Group. Further additional costs resulted from higher raw material prices as a consequence of rising demand and, from the end of February, the war in Ukraine, as well as Covid protection measures at the sites in Thailand and China.
Despite the negative impact of these extraordinary factors, the Schaffner Group achieved an 11.3% increase in EBIT from continuing operations to CHF 7.1 million (H1 2020/21: CHF 6.4 million; continuing operations). With 9.0%, the EBIT margin remained at the level of the previous period (9.1%). Net profit for the first half of 2021/22 amounts to CHF 5.2 million.
Strong growth in the Industrial Division
The Industrial Division was able to build on its business performance in the previous six months and further accelerate its growth. Net sales increased by 31.6% to CHF 63.6 million in the first half of 2021/22 compared to the same period of the previous year (first half of 2020/21: CHF 48.3 million). All the division's main markets and regions achieved double-digit growth, with net sales in the Americas almost doubling. One of the reasons was that Schaffner was able to win several new customers in the US thanks to better product availability and shorter delivery times than its competitors. The high order intake of CHF 75.0 million, corresponding to a book-to-bill ratio of 1.18, lays the foundation for a strong second half of the year.
Schaffner continued to drive forward its strategic initiatives within the Industrial Division, winning new projects in the robotics, LED lighting, and electric vehicle charging systems markets. Business with fast-charging systems for electric vehicles was particularly excellent, mainly in Europe and the US. To offset the sharp rise in raw material prices, especially for copper, ferrite, and plastic, as well as the high logistics costs, Schaffner introduced price increases from January. The effect of this measure will have a positive impact on margins in the coming months.
Automotive Division slowed by semiconductor shortage
The Automotive Division faced a contrasting environment in the first half of 2021/22. While demand from end customers for new vehicles remained at a high level worldwide, manufacturers were unable to produce the number of vehicles ordered due to a lack of semiconductors. Schaffner was also affected by this slowdown in the automotive sector: Compared to the very strong comparative base of the first half of 2020/21, net sales declined by 30.1% to CHF 15.3 million in the reporting period.
The Automotive Division won new orders in the first half of 2021/22 for both EMC filter solutions for electric vehicles and antennas for keyless authentication systems. Encouragingly, these include projects from car manufacturers that were not previously Schaffner customers. As the manufacturers' purchasing teams focused on chip procurement, the award of some projects that were in the bidding phase was delayed. On the cost side, the Automotive Division was negatively impacted by lower capacity utilisation at the plant in Thailand, while logistics and raw material costs had only a minor impact in the first half of the year.
Increased net working capital, solid balance sheet
The Schaffner Group reported higher net working capital of CHF 33.5 million as of 31 March 2022, compared with CHF 25.6 million at the end of September 2021. This is primarily due to higher inventories, as more goods are in transit, i.e. on the delivery route, and raw material stocks have been increased selectively to ensure availability. The increase in inventories is also the reason for the negative free cash flow of CHF -4.4 million. Despite higher sales, trade receivables remained stable thanks to further improved receivables management. The Schaffner Group remains very solidly financed. Shareholders' equity amounted to CHF 66.5 million at the end of the period, corresponding to an equity ratio of 57.3%.
Change in the Board of Directors
Urs Kaufmann, Chairman of the Board of Directors, has decided to step down from the Board for personal reasons at the Annual General Meeting in January 2023. During his six years of service, Urs Kaufmann, together with the Board of Directors and management, has driven forward the successful turnaround of Schaffner and the strategic realignment towards future-oriented applications. The Board of Directors and management would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his active and valuable contribution. The search for a successor will be initiated immediately.
Currently, the economic environment is caught between several influencing factors and is characterised by many uncertainties: Covid outbreaks in China with lockdowns of entire economic regions, the war in Ukraine, and rising inflation. Against this backdrop, it is difficult to make precise forecasts on the economic trend over the next six months.
The Schaffner Group expects the high demand from industrial markets to persist. The automotive sector, on the other hand, is likely to continue to suffer from shortages of electronic components. The logistics situation has stabilised since the beginning of the year, but remains challenging, also due to the lockdowns in China. The prices of various raw materials are likely to continue to rise or remain at a high level. Schaffner Group has increased its prices again at the beginning of the second half of 2021/22, which will have a positive impact on profitability.
If the general conditions do not deteriorate substantially, the Schaffner Group expects sales volumes in the second half of 2021/22 to be at the good level of the first half. It further expects that an EBIT margin at the lower end of the medium-term target range of 10% to 12% can still be achieved for the fiscal year.
Half-year report and presentation
You can download the half-year report 2021/22 of Schaffner Holding AG and the presentation on the 2021/22 half-year results using this link.
Conference call and webcast
Today, 5 May 2022, at 10.00 a.m., Schaffner Holding AG will hold a conference call and live audio webcast for media, investors and analysts.
To participate in the conference call, dial in using one of the telephone numbers below. You will be greeted by an operator and asked to enter the confirmation code. The confirmation code is 7732699. As a participant of the telephone conference you can follow the presentation here.
The presentation of Schaffner's 2021/22 half-year results will be broadcast as a Live Audio Webcast at 10.00 a.m. on 5 May 2022. Questions can be asked via the chat function. A recording is then available under the same link.
Contact Schaffner Holding AG, Investor Relations and Media Office: c/o Dynamics Group, Zurich Thomas Balmer, +41 43 268 32 34 or +41 79 703 87 28 investor-relationsschaffner.com