The Cicor Group experienced a difficult 2015 financial year

Wed, 09 Mar 2016

Zurich, March 9, 2016 – Cicor (SIX Swiss Exchange: CICN), a leading international high-tech industrial group in the field of printed circuit boards, microelectronics and electronic solutions based in Boudry (Switzerland), recorded lower sales as well as lower results in the 2015 financial year in comparison with the previous year. Net sales in Swiss francs in the year 2015 totaled 180.6 million, 10.8% less than in 2014 (CHF 202.5 million). In local currency terms, sales fell by 6.9%. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were lower than in the previous year. EBIT before restructuring costs reached CHF 3.1 million (2014: CHF 10.2 million). EBITDA generated in the year 2015 before restructuring costs reached CHF 12.1 million (2014: CHF 19.7 million); the EBITDA margin before restructuring costs fell to 6.7% (2014: 9.7%) of net sales. Net profit in the 2015 financial year amounted to CHF 0.7 million before restructuring costs of CHF 4.7 million (net profit 2014: CHF 7.0 million) or CHF -4.1 million after taking restructuring costs into account. With an equity ratio of 39.5% and a slightly lower level of net debt in comparison with the previous year (2015: CHF 20.5 million / 2014: CHF 21.2 million), the Group continues to demonstrate a sound consolidated balance sheet. At the end of 2015 the Group Management also initiated targeted measures designed to return the Group to the path of growth as quickly as possible. Due to the results in the 2015 financial year, the Board of Directors will propose to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting to forego the distribution of earnings.

2015 financial year

During the 2015 financial year the Cicor Group struggled with a difficult market environment in Switzerland. The abandonment of the minimum exchange rate between the Swiss franc and the euro unsettled many companies in Switzerland. As a consequence, some of Cicor's customers delayed or reduced their orders. The falling sales at two major customers also reduced the sales volume in 2015. The measures initiated had only a limited positive effect on the results.

Operating conditions for the market segments addressed by the Cicor Group varied in the 2015 financial year. The Swiss market, which is particularly important for the Group, was hit by the abandonment of the minimum exchange rate for the Swiss franc. In addition to the decline in sales at two major customers, competitive pressures in the European electronic manufacturing sector remained high in 2015. Demand in the U.S. and in Asian markets continued to grow. The Cicor Group's net sales in Swiss francs in 2015 totaled CHF 180.6 million, 10.8% less than in 2014 (CHF 202.5 mil-lion). Net sales in the ES Division fell 9.7% to CHF 131.6 million. EBITDA of the ES Division reached CHF 9.4 million before restructuring costs associated with the relocation of the Ticino sales office to the ES divisional headquarters in Bronschhofen, or CHF 8.9 million after taking this factor into account. On the basis of EBITDA before restructuring, this corresponded to a reduction of around CHF 4.5 million in comparison with the previous year 2014 (CHF 13.9 million). EBIT before the restructuring of the ES Division reached CHF 5.6 million, a significantly lower figure than in the previous year (2014: CHF 10.0 million). Sales recorded by the AMS Division in 2015 reached CHF 49.5 million, a 13.0% reduction in comparison with 2014. Orders from the watchmaking industry were particularly disappointing, confirming the continuing negative trend in this segment. The watches and consumer goods segment accounted for just 12% of the Cicor Group's total sales in the 2015 financial year. In the year 2012, by contrast, this accounted for some 20%. The AMS Division recorded EBIT of CHF -4.4 million (2014: CHF 2.3 million) after restructuring costs associated with the consolidation of the Cicorel SA site in Moudon with the site in Boudry. Before restructuring costs, operating results at the EBIT level totaled CHF -0.2 million, and at the EBITDA level CHF 4.9 million (2014: CHF 7.6 million).

The Cicor Group was able to demonstrate its capabilities and boost customer satisfaction even in the difficult 2015 financial year. A number of important new customers were acquired, enabling the focused medical and industrial segments to be expanded. The continued growth of the industry segment was welcomed, and this saw its share of sales rise from 27% in 2014 to 30% in 2015. This segment, together with the consistently strong market segment of medical, represents one of Cicor's core fields of activity. Demand for engineering support and product launch expertise as well as production design is particularly high in these segments, and is also continuing to rise. The joint market profile of the two Divisions was well-received by global customers, and has already begun generating joint orders. Incoming orders recorded in the year 2015 totaled CHF 176.3 million, a 9.4% reduction in comparison with 2014 (2014: CHF 194.7 million). Despite lower order intake, at the end of 2015 the Group had an order backlog with a delivery volume of CHF 103.2 million for from 2016 onwards.

During the 2015 financial year the Cicor Group invested a total of CHF 8.5 million (2014: CHF 10.6 million) in cutting-edge and modern infrastructure. Particularly worthy of mention in this regards is the newly-acquired capacity to manufacture medical products under heightened clean room conditions, eliminating the need for subsequent sterilization. This helps customers cut costs, and raises the competitiveness of their products. Cicor continued to extend its technological leadership with these and other investments. The proven ability to develop new products in close collaboration with its customers, and to then produce these cost-effectively on behalf of its customers, continues to determine the Group's strategic focus.

During 2015, the year under report, the Cicor Group switched its reporting from IFRS to Swiss GAAP FER retrospective as at January 1, 2014. Application of Swiss GAAP FER ensures that the Group will continue to draw up clear and high-quality accounts that present a true and fair view of the assets, financial position and results. The planned, retrospective depreciation of goodwill over five years reduced the equity capital. In addition, the existing pension plans resulted in pension liabilities that were significantly lower than was the case under IFRS. The consolidated balance sheet remained sound following the changes associated with the switch from IFRS to Swiss GAAP FER. With equity of CHF 59.7 million and a balance sheet total of CHF 151.3 million, the equity ratio was 39.5%. Net current assets at the end of 2015 totaled CHF 47.4 million, a reduction of CHF 1.9 million in comparison with 2014. Net debt as at December 31, 2015 was CHF 20.5 million, compared with CHF 21.2 million at the end of 2014. Thanks to the syndicated bank loan facility signed in December 2014, amounting to CHF 65 million, Cicor continued to secure long-term financial flexibility.

Outlook: challenges in the 2016 financial year

Thanks to the investments made in the global footprint and the expansion of production capacities abroad, the Cicor Group was able to reduce significantly its dependency on Switzerland as a production location. However, towards the end of 2015, the tangible cooling of the market targeted by the Group, as well as the falls in international stockmarkets in January 2016, have unsettled the business environment and make it difficult to issue forecasts. Under the same macroeconomic operating conditions as in the 2015 financial year, Cicor is expecting the results of the internal re-structuring to be reflected in growth in sales and results during the second half of 2016. In 2016, the Cicor Group will make every effort to return the business to a sustained path of growth as quickly as possible.

Contact:

Heinrich J. Essing
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Phone +41 43 811 44 05
E-mail: media@remove-this-text.cicor.com 

Dr. Jürg Dübendorfer
CEO
Phone +41 43 811 44 05
E-mail: media@remove-this-text.cicor.com 

Cicor Management AG
Leutschenbachstrasse 95
8050 Zurich
Switzerland

The complete Cicor Annual Report 2015 can be accessed at http://annualreport.cicor.com.