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Preliminary Results 2014/15: AT&S reports exceptionally positive annual results with significant increases in revenue and earnings

Year on year comparison (13/14 vs. 14/15):

  • Record revenue of EUR 667.0 million (+ 13.1%)
  • EBITDA up 31.8% to EUR 167.6 million
  • EBITDA margin improves from 21.6% to 25.1%
  • Profit for the year grows by 81.5% to EUR 69.3 million
  • Earnings per share: EUR 1.78 (vs. EUR 1.24 in FY 13/14)

The leading manufacturer of printed circuit boards (PCBs) again significantly exceeded the very positive business development of the previous year, based on the extraordinary positive development of the fourth quarter, presenting a new all-time high in revenue and earnings in the preliminary results for financial year 2014/15.

“We saw a disproportional high benefit from the strong growth in the area of mobile devices, especially smartphones, and from the constantly increasing share of electronics in the automotive sector throughout the year. This led to the highest revenue in the company’s history to date“, says Andreas Gerstenmayer, Chairman of the Management Board of AT&S AG.

“Based on very high capacity utilisation, more high-end products and continuous measures to improve efficiency, we increased our high profitability level further. Therefore, we are one of the world’s most profitable manufacturers of printed circuit boards“, Gerstenmayer adds. “That’s what we want to maintain, also in the future: with a new generation of printed circuit boards in addition to the new business segment IC substrates, we will tap further potential for long-term growth in the high-end segment by expanding our site in Chongqing, China, which is currently under construction.“

Development of the asset, financial and earnings position

Revenue was increased by 13.1% to EUR 667.0 million in the past financial year and showed extraordinary few seasonal effects: especially revenue in the fourth quarter, which is usually affected by the Chinese New Year and temporary production downtimes at the plant in Shanghai, significantly exceeded the company’s own expectations due to the continuously positive development in the segment Mobile Devices & Substrates. The increase in revenue compared to the previous year includes positive currency effects of EUR 21.4 million. 65.1% of revenue was not invoiced in euro. The contribution of products manufactured in Asia to revenue rose to 79.0% (vs. 75.9% in the previous year).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 31.8% to EUR 167.6 million, compared with EUR 127.2 million in the financial year 2013/14. In addition to the continued high capacity utilisation, this was primarily attributable to further improvements in product mix, improvements in material, administration and distribution costs in relation to revenue as well as positive currency translation effects amounting to EUR 5.6 million. In the reporting period EBITDA was adversely affected by start-up costs of EUR 4.7 million for the new IC substrate facility in Chongqing (FY 13/14: EUR 4.9 million). In the previous year, EBITDA had been additionally burdened by costs of EUR 3.0 million related to the closure of the site in Klagenfurt.

The EBITDA margin rose from 21.6% in the previous year to 25.1%.

Profit for the period, at EUR 69.3 million and an increase by 81.5%, reached a new peak level (FY 2013/14: EUR 38.2 million). Earnings per share rose by EUR 0.54, or 43.5%, to EUR 1.78 although the average number of shares outstanding increased and totalled 38.9 million shares (FY 2013/14: weighted 30.8 million shares).

Cash flow and statement of financial position

Based on the very positive earnings development, a significant increase in cash flow from operating activities from EUR 104.8 million to EUR 143.9 million was accomplished.

Net cash used in investing activities rose to EUR 164.8 million (FY 13/14: EUR 90.3 million) because of the Chongqing plant, which is currently under construction, and technology investments at other sites.

Consolidated equity rose by 54.7% and amounted to EUR 604.4 million at 31 March 2015. This increase compared with 31 March 2014 is attributable to both the increase in profit for the year and the above-average positive currency differences of EUR 161.4 million, which primarily resulted from a massive strengthening of the Chinese renminbi, the Indian rupee and the South Korean won against the euro in the second half of the year. The equity ratio at 31 March 2015 improved to 49.5%, versus 42.7% at 31 March 2014.

Net debt rose from EUR 110.9 million at 31 March 2014 to EUR 130.5 million at 31 March 2015. This increase is based on the high level of investment activities. The net gearing ratio declined to 21.6% due to the increase in equity and was thus substantially lower than the level of 28.4% in the previous year.

The figures in detail:

According to IFRS; in EUR millionFY 2014/15FY 2013/14Change
01.04.2014-31.03.201501.04.2013-31.03.2014in %
Revenue667.0589.9+ 13.1%
Gross profit155.4118.8+ 30.8%
EBITDA167.6127.2+ 31.8%
EBITDA margin (in %)25.1 %21.6 %-           
EBIT90.153.9+ 67.0%
EBIT margin (in %)13.5 %9.1 %-           
Profit before tax84.942.8+ 98.4%
Profit for the year69.338.2+ 81.5%
Earnings per average number of shares outstanding (in EUR)1)1.781.24+ 43.5%
Weighted average number of shares outstanding (in 1,000 units)38,85030,820+ 26.1%

1) Number of weighted shares in FY 13/14: 30,820,545

Business Unit Mobile Devices & Substrates with continued revenue and earnings growth at high level

In the Business Unit Mobile Devices & Substrates, AT&S recorded revenue of EUR 455.2 million in the reporting year, which corresponds to an increase by 20.3% compared with the financial year 2013/14.

This development is primarily attributable to the continued strong demand in the second, third and fourth quarters, with a concurrent high-end product mix and positive currency translation effects. EBITDA, at EUR 127.5 million, exceeded the prior-year figure of EUR 106.8 million by 19.4%. The EBITDA margin, at 28.0%, remained similar to the level of the previous year (28.2%).

Business Unit Industrial & Automotive (incl. Medical) with further improvement in profitability

With an increase in revenue by EUR 28.9 million to EUR 301.8 million (FY 2013/14: EUR 272.9 million), the Business Unit Industrial & Automotive (incl. Medical) achieved growth of 10.6%. The positive development was predominantly based on the ongoing growing demand for electronic components in cars, for example for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, but also for applications in industry, for example for machine-to-machine communication or in online patient monitoring. As capacity utilisation continued to improve, efficiency-enhancing measures were implemented and there were no negative one-off effects, EBITDA rose by 61.7% to EUR 34.8 million. The EBITDA margin improved to 11.5% (FY 13/14: 7.9%).

Chongqing site will be extended by new generation of printed circuit boards in addition to IC substrates  

The set-up of the plant in Chongqing, with a strategic focus on the production of IC substrates (Integrated Circuit Substrates), is proceeding according to plan. In the financial year 2014/15 the first production line was installed and the equipment characterisation and certification were started and continued. The ramp-up will be started in the calendar year 2016; first revenues are also expected for the calendar year 2016. Negotiations regarding the product mix and ramp scenarios are currently underway. The Management Board expects the talks to be completed in the coming months. At 31 March 2015, AT&S EUR invested EUR 167.1 million in Chongqing.

After the reporting date, on 28 April 2015, AT&S announced the expansion of the Chongqing site with investments of EUR 350 million to roughly EUR 480 million by mid-2017. AT&S is positioning itself for the next generation of printed circuit boards and will manufacture substrate-like printed circuit boards in Chongqing in addition to IC substrates starting in 2016. AT&S will thus tap the potential arising from progressing miniaturisation and increasing modularisation in order to secure profitable growth in the long term.

Outlook for the financial year 2015/16 The management expects ongoing good capacity utilisation provided that the macroeconomic environment remains stable and customer demand continues. On the basis of limited availability of capacities, a development of revenue similar to the financial year 2014/15 is forecast. The EBITDA margin will be in the range of 18-20% based on the start-up costs to be expected in the context of the ramp-up in Chongqing; in contrast, the EBITDA margin in the core business will remain at a level comparable to the financial year 2014/15.