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AT&S, a global technology leader for high-end printed circuit boards, ended the financial year 2017/18 with outstanding results. “AT&S accomplished record levels for revenue and EBITDA in 2017/18. Our investments of the past years are now bearing fruit, and the technology generations successfully introduced to the market contributed to growth,” said Andreas Gerstenmayer, CEO of AT&S.
Asset, financial and earnings position
Despite the challenging market and currency environment, AT&S increased consolidated revenue by 21.7% to € 991.8 million in the financial year 2017/18 (previous year: € 814.9 million). Strong demand in the automotive, industrial and medical segments as well as for high-end printed circuit boards for mobile devices, especially for the new technology generations mSAP and IC substrates, contributed to revenue growth. Negative currency effects, which were attributable to the increasingly weakening US dollar, had an effect of € -46.8 million on the Group’s revenue.
AT&S recorded a 72.6% increase in EBITDA to € 226.0 million in the financial year 2017/18 (previous year: € 130.9 million). This increase primarily resulted from a generally high operating performance (utilisation, yield, efficiency) at all plants and the successful introduction and fast optimisation of the new technology generation mSAP, for which AT&S has managed to achieve a leading market position. Negative currency effects from translation and valuation effects influenced EBITDA with € -28.5 million. The EBITDA margin rose from 16.1% to 22.8%, up 6.7 percentage points on the previous year.
An earnings analysis of the individual quarters shows that the financial year 2017/18 was characterised by a pronounced but not unusual seasonality, above all the fourth quarter; nevertheless, earnings exceeded the comparative figures of the previous year in all quarters.
Depreciation and amortisation rose primarily due to the additional lines at the Chongqing plant and amounted to € 135.7 million (previous year: € 124.7 million). EBIT increased to € 90.3 million (previous year: € 6.6 million) due to the good operating development and the favourable product mix. Accordingly, the EBIT margin improved to 9.1% (previous year: 0.8%).
Finance costs – net improved from €-17.5 million to €-14.8 million and thus remained at a low level. Tax expense increased to € 19.0 million in the reporting period in line with earnings (previous year: € 12.0 million). AT&S (China) Company Limited was granted the favoured tax status as a “High and New-Technology Enterprise (HNTE)” with retroactive effect for the calendar year 2017.
Consequently, the loss of € -22.9 million recorded in the previous year was turned into a profit for the year of € 56.5 million. Earnings per share improved to € 1.38 (previous year: € -0.59).
Cash flow and statement of financial position
As a result of the significant improvements in earnings at the Chinese plants, cash flow from earnings before changes in working capital increased from € 90.5 million to € 192.1 million. Due to the very good operating development, AT&S was able to finance all investments in property, plant and equipment from current business.
Equity rose to € 711.4 million (previous year: € 540.1 million). The increase results from the net proceeds of the placement of the hybrid bond and the profit for the year. Currency differences had a negative impact on equity.
Net debt decreased to € 209.2 million (previous year: € 380.6 million) due to the issue of the hybrid bond and strong cash flow from earnings before changes in working capital. Gearing consequently declined to 29.4% and was thus significantly below the prior-year level of 70.5%. The key figure net debt/EBITDA, which reflects a fictitious debt repayment period, improved from 2.9 years to 0.9 years and was thus clearly below the internal limit of 3.0 years.