Reading time ( words)
AT&S recorded a very positive revenue development despite unfavorable negative currency effects in the first quarter of 2021/22.
“Digitalisation continues to drive the demand for our technologies. Markets that showed temporary weakness are increasingly recovering. Strategically, we are still fully on track. The production of IC substrates in particular is running at full speed. The implementation of the capacity expansion in Chongqing is making excellent progress. The first parts of the production equipment have already been qualified as well as be put into operation,” says CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer.
Consolidated revenue rose by 28% to € 317.7 million in the first quarter of 2021/22 (PY: € 247.9 million). Adjusted for currency effects, the increase in consolidated revenue even amounted to 37%. The additional capacity and growing demand for ABF substrates made a significant contribution to revenue growth. The development was supported by the broader application portfolio for mobile devices and the demand for printed circuit boards for modules. In the AIM segment, all three areas contributed to revenue growth. Although the Automotive segment nearly doubled its revenue after a very weak first quarter of the previous year, the shortage of semiconductors will continue.
EBITDA increased from € 39.5 million to € 46.3 million. The improvement in earnings is predominantly attributable to the increase in consolidated revenue. Currency fluctuations of the US dollar and the Chinese renminbi had a negative impact of € 18.1 million on the earnings development. In addition, temporary start-up costs for the IC substrate production in Chongqing were incurred. On the market side, a change in product mix in the Mobile Devices segment had a negative effect on profitability.
AT&S continues its efforts to make the company future-proof by intensifying investments in the organisation as well as in research and development. Investments of € 31.3 million were made during the reporting period (previous year: € 22.4 million) to prepare for future technologies and pursue the modularisation strategy, among other things. Adjusted for the start-up effects of the Chongqing project, EBITDA amounted to € 50.8 million.
The EBITDA margin amounted to 14.6% (adjusted EBITDA margin: 16.0%), falling short of the prior-year level of 15.9% (adjusted EBITDA margin: 16.5%). EBIT declined from € 0.2 million to € -0.4 million. The EBIT margin amounted to -0.1% (PY: 0.1%). Finance cost – net improved from € -5.9 million to € -3.1 million, which is primarily attributable to the positive change in exchange rate differences. Loss for the period improved by € 2.6 million from € -7.9 million to € -5.3 million, primarily due to the improvement in finance cost – net.
The financial position was characterised by an increase in non-current assets at the end of the reporting period. Total assets rose to € 2,515.7 million, up 5.3% on 31 March 2021 as a result of additions to assets and technology upgrades.
Equity declined by -0.4% compared with 31 March 2021 and amounted to € 798.6 million, which was primarily earnings-related. The equity ratio decreased by 1.8 percentage points to 31.7% and temporarily fell below the medium-term target of 40.0%. This is attributable in particular to the increase in total assets as a result of investments and securing the financing of the future investment programme.
Cash and cash equivalents rose to € 560.7 million (31 March 2021: € 552.9 million). In addition, AT&S has financial assets of € 16.2 million and unused credit lines of € 328.5 million to secure the financing of the future investment programme and short-term repayments.
AT&S will concentrate on the start-up of the new production capacities at plant III in Chongqing, continue to push ahead the investment project in Kulim, Malaysia, and implement technology upgrades at other locations in the current year.
The expectations for AT&S’s segments are currently as follows: the persisting strong demand for IC substrates also offers significant growth opportunities in the medium term. The 5G mobile communication standard will continue to drive growth in the area of Mobile Devices. An upturn is expected in the Automotive segment despite the semiconductor shortage. Driven by the roll-out of the 5G infrastructure, the Industrial segment will continue to see a positive development in the coming year. In the Medical segment, AT&S expects a positive development for the current financial year.
AT&S will continue to pursue its investment programme for new capacity and technologies in the current financial year and now plans investments totalling up to € 700 million (previously € 630 million) for the financial year 2021/22. This increase is primarily attributable to activities related to the construction of the new production site for high-end substrates in Kulim, Malaysia. Up to € 100 million is budgeted for basic investments (maintenance and technology upgrades) depending on market development, plus another € 80 million due to shifts in periods between the financial years. As part of the strategic projects, the management is planning investments totalling up to € 450 million for the financial year 2021/22 depending on the progress of projects. These are predominantly related to investments in IC substrates in Chongqing and, among other things, expansion measures for production capacity of IC cores at the site in Leoben, which are used for manufacturing IC substrates.
Guidance for the financial year 2021/22
Due to the good development in the first three months of the financial year and the continued strong momentum of the IC substrate market, AT&S is slightly raising its for forecast for the development of revenue and now expects revenue growth of 17 to 19% (previously: 13 to 15%), assuming a euro/US dollar exchange rate of 1.21. The adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to range between 21 and 23%, not including approximately € 50 million for the start-up costs of the new production capacity in Chongqing and in Kulim.