In a challenging market environment, the Cicor Group succeeded in maintaining its sales volume from the previous year and carrying out decisive investments in future growth in 2011. The reported results therefore do not correspond with the Group’s effective operational performance. On the contrary, Cicor made important progress in 2011 in terms of implementing its growth strategy. The Group also increased its equity ratio as of 31 December 2011 to 59.1% (2010: 57.5%), and is thus well-prepared operationally and financially to take advantage of opportunities which may arise on the market. A new CHF 45 million credit agreement with a term of three years was signed at the end of February 2012. It offers sufficient flexibility for financing growth.
Decisive investments in future growth
The Cicor Group strengthened its global foothold by founding its own company in China and launching the development of a distribution company in the United States. In just five months, Cicor created new production capacities in Suzhou. Thanks to the acquisition of new large orders, these are already well utilised. Parallel to this, the new hub in Minnesota is accelerating the expansion of our presence in America. Direct local presence in the key markets of China and the United States will improve Cicor’s chances of gaining new clients. Thanks to its specialist skills and extensive internal design and production capacities with its own production sites in Europe and Asia, Cicor is able to meet the needs of a large number of rapidly growing companies across the world.
Cicor also opened a 3D-MID technology centre in Boudry, Switzerland. Cicor proactively carried out this step in line with the trend towards miniaturisation and rationalisation in the electronics industry. An increasing number of applications with electrical and electro-optical circuits are currently being realised with 3D-MID technology. This enables mechanical and electronic functions to be integrated within a very confined space in a component. Cicor expects the investment in this trend-setting key technology to generate decisive competitive advantages. Finally, Cicor continued to streamline its organisations and processes.
The standardised processes throughout the Group allow our range of complex products and cross-divisional services to be extended.
Divisional results weighed down by Swiss franc and effects from Asian tsunami
In 2011, the PCB Division succeeded in maintaining its net revenue of the previous year despite significant currency influences. This came to CHF 36.3 million (2010: CHF 36.5 million; -0.6%). The operating profit (EBIT) reached CHF -5.1 million (2010: CHF -0.5 million). Before the restructuring costs associated with the closure of Photochemie AG (which were charged fully to the 2011 financial year) EBIT improved slightly to CHF -0.4 million compared to the previous year. This includes the start-up expenditure for the 3D-MID technology centre opened in Boudry. The business performance of the PCB Division was shaped by the natural disasters in Asia. Additionally, the markets for highly complex printed circuit boards slumped in the second half of the year.
In 2011, the ME Division recorded net sales of CHF 28.7 million (2010: CHF 30.3 million). The operating profit (EBIT) came to CHF -0.032 million (2010: CHF 2.6 million). RHE Microsystems GmbH in Radeberg, Germany, posted an all-time record result. The micro-assembly and thick-film technology segments recorded strong growth in particular, and made a significant contribution towards stabilising the Division’s results. A bitter pill to swallow was the freeze in investments in the nuclear energy sector. The production facilities at Reinhardt Microtech in Ulm, Germany, and Wangs, Switzerland, suffered from the loss or delay in orders from public sector clients.
Despite currency losses, the ES Division recorded net revenue in 2011 that was slightly up on the previous year at CHF 94.9 million (2010: CHF 93.8 million). The operating profit (EBIT) rose by 4.3% to CHF 4.0 million (2010: CHF 2.5 million). At the same time, it was possible to reduce the high currency-related price pressure somewhat in the second half of the year thanks to the two production sites at Bronschhofen, Switzerland and Arad, Romania. This pleasing development is also expressed in the acquisition of various large orders in the medical, building and defence technology sectors.
In 2011, the course of business in the Asia Division suffered from the negativ consumer sentiment and the destabilisation and weakening of the local economy as a result of the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. In this difficult market environment, the Asia Division recorded net revenue of CHF 19.9 million in 2011 (2010: CHF 23.1 million). 14.2% of the decline is attributable to currency influences. Furthermore, Cicor lost out on various opportunities due to the economic situation, which further reduced sales. The operating profit fell to CHF 1.1 million (2010: CHF 1.9 million). Discounting the start-up expenditure for the newly founded Suzhou Cicor Technology Co. Ltd, the EBIT came to 8.3% (2010: 8.5%).
Profitable growth – acquisition of large-volume projects
Cicor has further streamlined and simplified its organisation and also decisively increased its global foothold in order to counteract the increasing cost pressure. The goal of further accelerating organic growth has been successfully advanced thanks to the acquisition of additional large-volume projects. The comprehensive expertise of the entire Group was utilised in this strategy.
Despite the currently difficult market environment and unfavourable exchange rates, Cicor is pursuing a consistent growth strategy. The Board of Directors and Group Management are confident of taking advantage of the opportunities in the electronics industry as a result of our innovations, extensive presence across geographical regions, increased trend towards outsourcing production and the expertise of the Group.