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2012 financial year: significant improvement in profitability despite slightly lower sales


Zurich, 20 March 2013 – Cicor (SIX Swiss Exchange: CICN), a high-tech industrial group and international leader in the areas of printed circuit boards, microelectronics and electronic solutions, headquartered in Boudry (Switzerland), significantly increased its profitability in the 2012 financial year and achieved a pleasing net profit. Net revenue, on the other hand, lagged slightly behind the previous year, recording a decline of 1.5% to stand at TCHF 176,016 (2011: TCHF 178,678). However, Cicor brought about considerable improvements in its operating result that will be beneficial to the company's development. The operating result (EBIT) reached TCHF 7,224 (2011: TCHF 2,318 before restructuring). After recording a loss of TCHF 2,416 in the previous year, the Group succeeded in posting a net profit of TCHF 6,264. This figures includes capitalized losses carried forward totalling around TCHF 1,277. The strong improvement in operating performance, with a significant increase in margins, can be attributed to the high level of operational discipline, ongoing organizational streamlining and the completed restructuring of the Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) Division. Based on the net profit reported in 2012, the Board of Directors will recommend at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting on 24 April 2013 payment of a distribution of CHF 0.30 per share from the available capital contribution reserve.

The Cicor Group succeeded in maintaining sales volume at the level of the previous year in 2012. Improved cost structures, simplified processes within the divisions and restructuring in the PCB Division led to a significant improvement in margins. Cicor once again succeeded in acquiring prestigious contracts and projects in 2012. These included large-volume orders from Albis Technologies for the manufacture of electronic modules for use in telecommunications, from Geberit for the production of touchless controls in the area of sanitary technology, and from other well-known electronics manufacturers, for example, for the production of sensor modules for industrial cameras or creation of the complete modules in chip and wire technology for supplying and distributing electricity in airplanes and space vehicles. Other major orders came from the medical and consumer goods sectors. The equity ratio as at 31 December 2012 was 56.5% (2011: 59.1%); this decline is due to the change in pension obligations (IAS 19). A new loan agreement for CHF 45 million with a term of three years, signed at the end of February 2012, has given the Group additional financial flexibility for growth financing.

Focus on benefit to customers with innovative technology portfolio

In the 2012 financial year, Cicor invested once again in its innovative technology portfolio, streamlined the organization and expanded the Group's global presence. The company opened its own sales organization in the US in January 2012. This will accelerate the process of tapping the American market, which is vitally important to the entire Group. A local presence will give Cicor more opportunities to win new customers, particularly in the medical, automotive and industrial sectors. In Asia, Cicor is driving forward its development of local markets through manufacturing sites in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore and China. The transfer of expertise from Europe and low cost structures also make the manufacturing centers attractive for local customers. Additionally, Cicor's sound technological and production expertise is enabling the company to adapt high-end products and solutions to the needs of local markets and customers, and in turn to tap new sales markets for its proven technologies. In Europe, customers with global manufacturing needs are showing a growing preference for Cicor. These customers are deliberately pursuing second-sourcing strategies for reasons of risk management, and are benefiting from the standardized production workflows and processes in place throughout the entire Cicor Group.

Pronounced upswing in the second half of the year

The PCB Division recorded a 9.1% drop in sales to TCHF 32,991 (2011: TCHF 36,312). This decline can be attributed exclusively to non-transferred, low-margin sales in connection with the relocation of the activities and equipment of Photochemie AG in Unterägeri to Cicorel SA in Boudry, which took place as scheduled in the first half of the year. The operating result (EBIT) rose to TCHF 2,968 (2011: TCHF - 417), including the TCHF 305 in profit from the sale of the Photochemie AG property in Unterägeri. The significant improvement on the previous year shows the operational benefits of the reorganization process. The EBIT margin improved to a healthy 9.0% (2011: -1%).

The ME Division recorded two very different half-year results. Net revenue of TCHF 30,291 for the year as a whole was up 5.5% on the previous year (2011: TCHF 28,707), but after the first six months sales were still lagging 6.4% behind the previous year's level. Profitability was also markedly different in the first and second halves of the year. EBIT for 2012 as a whole amounted to TCHF -1,290. While the first half of 2012 was clearly negative at TCHF -1,267, production improvements and strict cost control in the second half enabled the Division to almost reach the break-even point for the last six months of the year. The areas of microassembly and thick-film technology contributed significantly to the encouraging performance seen in the second half year 2012.

The uncertain economic situation in customers' main sales markets caused net revenue in the ES Division to drop by 7.5% to TCHF 87,815 (2011: TCHF 94,896) during the 2012 financial year. The operating result (EBIT) reached TCHF 5,461 (2011: TCHF 4,049), while the EBIT margin rose from 4.3% to 6.2%. This meant that the ES Division was also able to boost its profitability on a sustainable basis, despite lower sales. In 2012 the Division profited from efficiency-boosting measures in the area of order processing at both the Bronschhofen (Switzerland) and Arad (Romania) sites and the global supply chain established in 2011 with the new sourcing office in Singapore.

The Asia Division achieved pleasing sales growth of 32.6% in 2012, despite a challenging market environment. Net revenue rose to TCHF 26,330 (2011: TCHF 19,854), and the operating result (EBIT) reached TCHF 1,935 (2011: TCHF 1,073). The EBIT margin was 7.3%, compared with 5.4% in the previous year. This encouraging growth builds on the Asia Division's success in acquiring new international customers, who will benefit from the Division's high level of manufacturing expertise, dual sourcing capacities and attractive cost structures. 

Outlook: ensuring sustainable, profitable growth

In light of the strategic and operational progress made during the 2012 financial year, Cicor is aiming to achieve profitable growth in the coming years as a result of clear, consistent leadership with a high level of cost awareness. Cicor has identified the US and Asia as locations with particular growth potential. The Group intends to strengthen contact with new customers in both sales regions, building on the structures of the sales organizations, and to become a preferred partner for high-end electronic solutions and large-volume manufacturing contracts. In the 2013 financial year, Group Management expects a return to growth in all divisions and consolidation of the profitability generated in 2012. 


Antoine Kohler
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Phone +41 43 811 44 05
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Patric Schoch
Phone +41 43 811 44 05
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