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Conzzeta AG : Annual Results 2012: Conzzeta strengthens its position in Asia and the USA

 Conzzeta AG : Annual Results 2012: Conzzeta strengthens its position in Asia                                  and the USA  Conzzeta AG / Annual Results 2012: Conzzeta strengthens its position in Asia and the USA . Processed and transmitted by Thomson Reuters ONE. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.  Zurich, March  27, 2013  -  Conzzeta's annual  results  for 2012  reflect  the  influences of  the debt  crisis.  While revenues  were  slightly down  in  the  eurozone countries,  Conzzeta  was able  to  strengthen its  position  in  the  markets of  Asia  and North  America.  The Group  increased  consolidated  net  revenues by 3% to  CHF 1161.5 million  (previous year: CHF1128.1  million),  with the Bystronic and Mammut business units generating the strongest  growth.  Operating profit (EBIT) was CHF 55.3 million (CHF 61.9 million), corresponding to an EBIT margin of 4.8% (5.4  %), which contains the one-time allocation  to  the employee pension funds, with costs of CHF 12.7 million. Adjusted for  this  special effect, EBIT amounted to CHF 68 million, corresponding to a margin  of  5.9%.  The 2012 business year again showed how much the debt crisis is affecting  the  business climate in  the eurozone  economies. Whereas the  North American  and  Asian markets continued  to recover  and grow, uncertainties  in the  eurozone  persisted, causing industry and consumers alike to put off purchase decisions. Conzzeta's business units, led by Bystronic and Mammut, took advantage of  the  growth opportunities in the USA and Asia, enabling the Group to post  moderate  growth figures. The Conzzeta Group  increased consolidated net revenues by  3%  to CHF1161.5  million (previous  year:  CHF1128.1 million).  Adjusted  for  currency translation  effects of  1.5%  as well  as acquisition  effects,  the  growth was 1.3%. Thanks to the stable, though high, exchange rate of the Swiss franc, the currency translation effects are  less marked than in the  previous  year. However, this should not obscure  the fact that Swiss products  continue  to appear relatively  expensive in  the eurozone due  to the  disproportionate  strength of the Swiss franc.  Operating profit  (EBIT)  was  CHF  55.3  million  (previous  year:  CHF  61.9  million), corresponding to  an EBIT  margin of  4.8% (5.4%).  The EBIT  figure  includes a one-time special item: the allocation to the employee pension funds of CHF15million (net impact on costs of CHF 12.7 million). This payment  was  approved by the Annual General Meeting to mark the 100th anniversary in  2012.  Adjusted  for  this  special  effect,  EBIT   came  in  at  CHF  68   million,  corresponding to a margin of 5.9%. Operating profit contains costs of CHF  7.6  million (CHF6.4 million) for the restructuring of Bystronic glass.  Investments in property, plant and  equipment, and intangible assets  amounted  to CHF 41.8 million (previous year: CHF  40.1 million) in 2012. The two  major  investments begun in 2011 - Mammut's European logistics center in Germany  and  Bystronic's second plant  in Tianjin, China  -were successfully completed  in  2012 within budget. In Estavayer-le-Lac, Plazza Immobilien sold land no longer required in its property portfolio.  The cash  flow  from operating  and  investment activities  (free  cash  flow)  generated by the Conzzeta Group amounted  to CHF 73.2 million (previous  year:  negative CHF 1.3  million) in  2012. Cash  flow from  financing activities  of  negative CHF 105.8 million (negative CHF 14 million) was strongly affected  by  the payment of a centenary  dividend in 2012. This  had a marked influence  on  the change in cash and cash equivalents amounting to negative CHF 32.7 million (negative CHF 15.8 million). Thanks  to cash, cash equivalents and  securities  of CHF 422.2 million (CHF 482.5 million) and an equity ratio of 75.4% (74.9%), the Conzzeta Group remains solidly financed.  At the  end of  the reporting  year,  the Conzzeta  Group had  3627  employees  worldwide, 51 more than in the previous year (3576). Most of the new jobs were created in Asia.  However, Conzzeta  continues to  be based  in Europe,  where  around two-thirds of the employees work.  Following payment for  the 2011 business  year of an  increased dividend  from  non-operational funds  to  mark Conzzeta's  100th  anniversary, the  Board  of  Directors is returning to the previous level of dividend payments. The Board's proposal to the Annual  General Meeting of Shareholders  is for a dividend  of  CHF 40 (previous year:  CHF 217) per  bearer share and CHF  8 (CHF 43.40)  per  registered share.  Business units  The Sheet Metal  Processing Systems  business unit  (Bystronic) increased  net  revenue by  5.5%  to  CHF  530.6 million  (previous  year:  CHF503  million).  Adjusted for currency translation effects, the  increase was 3.5%. By far  the  most important growth market was the  NAFTA region, where the recovery in  the  USA was not the  only positive factor. Anorth-south  divide is opening up  in  Europe, with  sales  volumes  in  the non-eurozone  countries  tending  to  be  stronger than in the  eurozone. Sales in Asia  were at approximately the  same  level as in  2011. The  business unit  had a  remarkable year  on the  product  development front. At Euroblech, the leading trade show, Bystronic presented a completely revamped product portfolio,  which met with  great interest on  the  part  of  customers.  The  worldwide  trend  toward  fiber  laser  systems  is  continuing, and Bystronic also presented a new machine in this segment. Market demand for modern software and operating systems is increasing. Bystronic  has  already responded to this  demand with its BySoft  7 process control  software  and intuitive touchscreen  interfaces. The  new plant was  inaugurated at  the  Tianjin site in China. In addition  to production capacity, it includes a  new  demonstration center and improved facilities for product development.  In the Glass Processing Systems  business unit (Bystronic glass), net  revenue  fell by 5.6% to CHF 141.8 million (previous year: CHF 150.2 million). In local currencies, the  drop in  sales was  6.2% compared  with 2011.  This trend  is  partly attributable to the closure of the architectural glass cutting segment. As announced earlier,  the segment  was discontinued for  reasons of  economic  efficiency. The  continuing  shift  toward  China  in  the  market  for  glass  processing machinery gathered pace.  At the same  time, Europe is  stagnating.  Bystronic glass is responding to this strategic challenge by strengthening its activities in China, where the mid-range segment of its portfolio now includes a new  insulating  glass system.  The  business unit  was  thus able  to  take  advantage of  the growing  demand  for multiple  glazing in  Asia,  generating  increased sales in the region. There was particularly pleasing revenue  growth  in the  laminated  safety  glass  (LSG) and  automotive  glass  segments.  The  restructuring program initiated in January 2012 is nearing completion. The new systems  for   architectural  glass   cutting   segment  based   in   Bützberg  (Switzerland) was closed down and the  site refocused on customer service  and  the automotive glass business.  The production of  handling equipment and  LSG  systems was transferred from Gunzenhausen to Neuhausen-Hamberg (Germany).  The Automation Systems business unit (ixmation) posted net revenue of CHF55.9 million in 2012, a decrease of 20.2% on the previous year (CHF70 million), or 24.7% in local  currencies. This level  of revenue  was about the  same as  in  2010. The  year-on-year decline  is  attributable to  a major  one-time  order  booked in  2011. In  the  reporting year,  the  business unit  incurred  high,  unplanned  costs  dealing  with  technical  problems  relating  to   demanding  projects. In summer 2012, the decision was taken to appoint Guy Sellier as the new head of the business unit.  He has extensive experience in the  automation  industry as well  as in  project management. The  market in  Asia is  becoming  increasingly important for ixmation. Labor  costs are rising and sectors  such  as the automotive industry, consumer goods manufacture and medical  technology  are continuing  to grow.  In 2012,  ixmation acquired  renowned  international  players as  customers in  the  alternative energy  and automotive  fields.  In  competing  for   business   from   globally   active   customers,   ixmation's  international set-up often plays a crucial role.  In the Foam Materials business unit (FoamPartner), net revenue rose by 4.2% to CHF 129.9 million (previous  year: CHF 124.6  million). Adjusted for  currency  translation effects, the  business unit posted  a 3.5% year-on-year  increase.  Although the currency effect is negligible, the strong Swiss franc did  affect  the business performance. Revenues in the comfort foam segment declined in the home market  of  Switzerland  because  of the  impact  of  cheaper  competitor  products from  the eurozone  and  shopping tourism.  On  the other  hand,  the  segment was  able to  generate sales  growth  in the  eurozone, above  all  in  Germany and the  Benelux countries,  with a  new mattress  core product  line.  FoamPartner recorded its highest  sales growth in Asia,  followed by the  USA,  with demand for  technical foams  developing very  well in  both regions.  The  business unit  received new  orders worldwide  from the  automotive  industry,  which is showing increased  interest in acoustic  foams for sound  insulation.  Filters, sponges,  packaging  and rolls  also  sold well.  The  business  unit  continued to expand in Asia, establishing its own sales office in Singapore.  In the Sporting Goods business unit (Mammut Sports Group), the reporting  year  was marked by strong growth, with net revenue up by 10.3% to CHF 232.5 million (previous year:  CHF  210.8  million). After  adjustments  for  currency  and  acquisition effects,  the  growth in  net  revenue amounted  to  8.4%.  Market  expansion focused on  the Asian region,  where the highest  growth rates  were  recorded. Mammut acquired  a majority  holding in  its previously  independent  distributor in  South  Korea, the  world's  second biggest  outdoor  equipment  market. At the same, Mammut began building up its own sales company in  China.  The business  unit  sustained its  robust  performance in  the  main  European  market, Germany, recording strong sales growth.  In the rest of the  eurozone,  the impact of prevailing economic  uncertainties was evident. The home  market  of Switzerland saw modest  growth, indicating a  slowdown in the  cross-border  shopping trend, though the pressure on prices was still apparent. Mammut  also  generated strong revenue growth in North America. The highest sales growth was in the  hardware  product segment,  where  avalanche protection  systems  were  particularly popular with  customers. Mammut opened  16 new mono-brand  stores  worldwide in 2012, bringing the total to more than 50 and helping to boost the brand's popularity.  Mammut marked  its 150th  anniversary by  sponsoring  the  conquest of 150 mountain peaks worldwide, the most important project aimed  at  increasing brand awareness  in recent  years, which  aroused a  great deal  of  interest. The business unit's  other major project was  the construction of  a  new European logistics  center in Wolfertschwenden  near Memmingen  (Germany),  which came  on stream  in fall  2012, taking  over supplies  to the  whole  of  Europe.  The Graphic Coatings business  unit (Schmid Rhyner)  increased net revenue  in  the reporting  year by  4.7% to  CHF  50.4 million  (previous year:  CHF  48.1  million). Schmid Rhyner  generated growth  in most  of its  markets. The  debt  crisis continued  to dominate  the picture  in Southern  Europe, resulting  in  declining sales.  Demand  for varnishes  for  commercial printing  is  falling  across all market regions.  At the same  time, there is  a growing market  for  packaging printing, where Schmid Rhyner  is consolidating its position with  a  UV-hardening line. The new Touch&Feel varnishes, which create textured effects on packaging, are meeting  with great interest in  many branches of  industry,  notably luxury goods and the  alcohol and tobacco industries. The  water-based  varnish segment was streamlined and will now focus on high-grade  specialties,  which offer good  margins, to  complement its portfolio.  In the  UV-hardening  segment, Schmid Rhyner has achieved  some technological advances, for  example  developing new photoinitiators which further  reduce the risk of migration  to  the product  thanks  to  improved properties,  thereby  improving  the  safety  characteristics of printed food packaging.  The Real Estate  business unit  (Plazza Immobilien) generated  revenue of  CHF  19.8 million in 2012, 5.3%  down on the previous  year (CHF 21 million).  This  decline is mainly the result of  selling the property in Estavayer-le-Lac  and  the subsequent loss of rental income.  The sale in Estavayer-le-Lac netted  an  extraordinary profit of CHF  8.5 million. Demand  for rented accommodation  at  Plazza's residential properties remained stable. Legal formalities relating to the  planned  residential  development  with  around  200  apartments  on  the  Wallisellen site  were  completed and  an  architectural competition  for  the  design of the project was held. Detailed construction planning for the  entire  development, named "Im Glattgarten", will take place in 2013. In the reporting year, an  architectural  and  urban  planning competition  was  held  for  the  development of  a  former  industrial site  in  Crissier.  The  municipalities  concerned and Plazza are working with the winner of the competition to produce the design plan as a basis for specific building projects.  Trends and outlook  The 2013  business year  will  continue to  be  influenced by  the  unresolved  currency  and   financial  crisis,   and   increasingly  also   by   political  uncertainties. Although  for  the moment  there  are hopes  of  the  situation  easing, the  underlying  problem  of the  overindebtedness  of  some  eurozone  countries is  not resolved.  This leads  time  and again  to mistrust  in  the  markets and prompts customers to adopt a more cautious attitude. The crisis of trust in the euro and the resulting flight into the Swiss franc will  continue  to distort currency relations and hamper  the export of Swiss products to  the  eurozone. In these circumstances, the stabilization of the Swiss franc by  the  Swiss National Bank continues to be an important factor, which at least in the short term offers a measure of security in planning.  As in the previous year, Conzzeta is  more confident about the outlook in  the  Asian markets  than it  is  about the  prospects in  Europe.  In view  of  the  unstable political and economic situation in the mature industrial  economies,  the Group is unable to make  reliable forecasts. As experience shows,  periods  of uncertainty for customers soon make themselves felt in the order intake.  Conzzeta is continuing to  prepare itself for  an uncertain business  climate,  staying flexible and keeping costs down so that it is able to respond  quickly  to any slump  in sales. To  further reduce its  exposure to currency  effects,  Conzzeta remains on  its chosen  course of maintaining  its own  manufacturing  capacity in the markets it serves and purchasing in local currencies.  The full version of the Annual Report is available at www.conzzeta.ch.  For further information please contact: Christian Thalheimer, Head of Corporate Services Phone +41 44 468 24 84 media@conzzeta.ch  Conzzeta Group  is  an  internationally  active  Swiss  holding  company  with  approximately 3,600 employees worldwide.  Its activities are  in the areas  of  machinery and  systems engineering,  foam materials,  sporting goods,  graphic  coatings and  real estate.  Conzzeta's  shares are  listed  on the  SIX  Swiss  Exchange (SWX:CZH).  The News Release including consolidated income statement and balance sheet can be downloaded from the following link:  Media release (PDF)  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------  This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson Reuters clients.  The owner of this announcement warrants that: (i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and (ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.  Source: Conzzeta AG via Thomson Reuters ONE HUG#1688342  --- End of Message ---  Conzzeta AG Giesshübelstrasse 45 Zürich Switzerland  WKN: 265798;ISIN: CH0002657986;  
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