AT&S Posts Solid Results in FY 2015/16


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AT&S, one of the global technology leaders for high-end printed circuit boards (PCBs), again exceeded the record revenue of the previous year in the financial year 2015/16, which ended on 31 March 2016, and maintained the high level of operating earnings of the financial year 2014/15. However, EBITDA and EBIT were influenced by the start-up effects of the project in Chongqing. Adjusted for these effects, EBITDA and EBIT clearly exceed the high values of the previous year.

Highlights:

  • Revenue up 14.4% to EUR 762.9 million
  • EBITDA, at EUR 167.5 million, at the same level as in the previous year adjusted for the Chongqing effect: EBITDA of EUR 174.4 million
  • Profit for the year of EUR 56.0 million adjusted for the Chongqing effect: EUR 67.8 million – at a similar level as in the previous year
  • Earnings per share: EUR 1.44
  • Start-up of the new plant in Chongqing is satisfactory
  • Outlook for the financial year 2016/17 influenced by further start-up effects of the Chongqing project: Revenue growth of 10-12%, EBITDA margin at 18-20%, additional depreciation and amortisation for the project Chongqing of EUR 40 million p.a.

“The past financial year was a challenge for us in every respect”, says CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer. “On the one hand, the objective was to successfully conclude the qualification phase of nearly one and a half years with the certification of the new plant and to launch serial production for the new IC substrate technology. On the other hand, the heterogeneous market development and the continuously growing price pressure in our core business confronted us with challenges. Thanks to our clear focus on high-end applications, our cost efficiency, productivity and not least thanks to our highly motivated employees, we achieved a very satisfactory result – despite the first effects of the start-up of the new plant in Chongqing. Once again, we performed better than the PCB market overall and increased revenue by more than 5%, while the PCB market declined by 4%.” Gerstenmayer adds: “Technologically, we have taken a big step forward in the past financial year. The combination of the technologies available to us will enable us in the future to offer our customers new connectivity solutions, thus giving AT&S a completely new positioning in the market. In this comprehensive transformation phase we concentrate on the implementation of the technologies and efficient cost management. We thus want to offer the market ‘more than AT&S’ and once again become one of the most profitable high-end connectivity solution providers.”

Revenue and earnings

Based on very good demand in the key customer segments and exchange rate developments which were favourable for AT&S, revenue increased by 14.4% to EUR 762.9 million (previous year: EUR 667.0 million). Organic growth amounted to 5.2% or EUR 34.4 million, and positive currency effects contributed 8.8% or EUR 58.9 million to the increase in revenue. 73.3% of the revenues were invoiced in foreign currencies.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), at EUR 167.5 million, maintained the high level of EUR 167.6 million of the previous year. The start-up effects related to the launch of serial production in Chongqing were reflected in EBITDA with EUR 12.7 million (previous year EUR 4.4 million); positive currency effects contributed EUR 13.0 million to EBITDA. Adjusted for the Chongqing project, EBITDA amounted to EUR 174.4 million, thus exceeding the prior-year figure by 4%.

The EBITDA margin dropped 3.1 percentage points year-on-year, from 25.1% to 22.0%, clearly exceeding both the long-term guidance of 18-20% and the guidance for the financial year. This development is primarily attributable to the start-up costs related to the launch of serial production for the Chongqing project. Adjusted for this effect, the EBITDA margin would amount to 23.7% – with the prior-year value including one-time gains; the remaining decline can be explained by several minor deviations.

Scheduled depreciation of property, plant and equipment and amortisation of intangible assets amounted to EUR 87.4 million or 11.0% of non-current assets (previous year: EUR 71.5 million or 11.0% of non-current assets) and reduced EBIT versus prior year by 14.6% to EUR 77.0 million. The EBIT margin declined from 13.5% to 10.1%. Adjusted for the Chongqing project, AT&S recorded an increase in EBIT by 5.1% to EUR 103.2 million (previous year: EUR 98.2 million) and an EBIT margin of 13.6% (vs. 14.7% in the previous year).

Based on these developments, increased finance costs – net (EUR -8.1 million vs. EUR -5.1 million in the previous year) reduced income taxes (EUR -12.9 million vs. EUR -15.6 million or 18.7 % vs. 18.4%) profit for the year totalled EUR 56.0 million, down 19.3% on the previous year. Earnings per share amounted to EUR 1.44 (previous year: EUR 1.78).

Cash flow and statement of financial position

Cash flows from operating activities before changes in working capital amounted to EUR 145.9 million vs. EUR 145.0 million in the previous year. Cash flows from investing activities – investments in the plant under construction in Chongqing, technology investments in other locations and the investment of liquid funds – amounted to EUR 342.2 million (FY 2014/15: EUR 164.8 million).

Equity declined – despite a positive profit for the year of EUR 56.0 million due to negative currency differences of EUR 82.5 million by 5.9% to EUR 568.9 million. As a result of that and due to the issue of a promissory note loan of EUR 221.0 million for refinancing, the equity ratio, at 42.3%, was 7.2 percentage points lower than at March 31, 2015.

Net debt rose by EUR 132.7 million to EUR 263.2 million (previous year: EUR 130.5 million) due to very high investment activities and the dividend paid. Consequently net gearing amounted to 46.3% at 31 March 2016 (previous year: 21.6%).

Segment Mobile Devices & Substrates

Revenue in the segment Mobile Devices & Substrates increased by 18.6% to EUR 539.7 million in the financial year 2015/16. This development was characterised by very strong demand in the first two quarters and positive currency effects, while especially the fourth quarter showed a usual seasonality. Revenue from external customers totalled EUR 452.5 million, which corresponds to an increase of 18.4%. EBITDA, at EUR 126.4 million, was 0.8% lower than the prior-year figure of EUR 127.5 million and was influenced by the start-up effects for the new plant in Chongqing in the fourth quarter. Very high utilisation, a good product mix and positive exchange rate effects contributed to improved earnings, which nearly offset the higher start-up effects. Therefore, the EBITDA margin of 23.4% was 4.6 percentage points lower than in the previous year. Adjusted for the Chongqing effects, the EBITDA margin amounts to 26.0% vs. 28.5% in the previous year.

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