Convincing financial year with leap in EBIT thanks to book gain from the combination between Schleuniger and Komax
Metall Zug AG / Key word(s): Annual Results
Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 Listing Rules of SIX Swiss Exchange
Zug, March 13, 2023 – Metall Zug generated net sales of CHF 645.9 million in 2022. Adjusted for divestment effects, this represents a pleasing increase of 9.8 %. Thanks to the book gain of CHF 89.7 million from the combination between Schleuniger and Komax, the operating result (EBIT) increased to CHF 135.9 million, and net profit to CHF 137.3 million. Through the combination between Schleuniger and Komax, Metall Zug has achieved a further milestone in the implementation of its strategy in 2022.
The strategy communicated by Metall Zug in 2019 of transforming itself into a holding company with investments in industrial companies with value enhancement potential was successfully continued with the combination between Schleuniger and Komax in 2022. As the largest single shareholder, Metall Zug will participate in the strategic further development of Komax and thus continue to benefit from the growing wire processing market.
With the majority of the Group’s remaining Business Units, the Haag-Streit Group, Belimed Infection Control and Belimed Life Science, Metall Zug is primarily focused on medical technology.
In addition, with the Tech Cluster Zug, Metall Zug owns a strategic anchor location and an attractive site in the north of the city of Zug, which has high real estate development potential. Impressive projects were further developed and completed in 2022.
Strong organic sales growth and pleasing improvement in operating result
Metall Zug achieved net sales of CHF 645.9 million in 2022, which, adjusted for divestment effects (Schleuniger Group, Clement Clarke International, IPRO GmbH), corresponds to a pleasing increase of 9.8 %. Excluding currency effects of – 0.3 % and acquisition effects of 0.6 %, organic growth amounted to 9.5 %.
Metall Zug’s Business Units benefited from the high order backlog at the end of 2021 and continued strong demand in the first half of 2022, enabling all Business Units to increase sales year-on-year.
The challenges on the procurement side, with partly unavailable components combined with rising raw material, energy and freight prices, tight freight capacities as well as a shortage of skilled labor and wage pressure also impacted on this year’s results. As far as possible, further sales price increases were implemented in response. Their effect is only reflected in the income statement with a time lag, particularly in the long-term project business. Political upheavals, high inflation and sharp fluctuations in foreign exchange rates also affected the economic environment of the Metall Zug Group.
Metall Zug achieved EBIT of CHF 135.9 million (previous year: CHF 42.3 million). This significant increase is mainly due to the book gain of CHF 89.7 million from the combination between Schleuniger and Komax. On the other hand, the EBIT contribution of Schleuniger ceased for the months September to December (same period of previous year: CHF 5.7 million).
Adjusted for the other one-time effects in 2022 (release of a provision for a legal case of CHF 1.6 million no longer required, increases of provisions in connection with pension liabilities at a subsidiary in the UK of CHF – 2.4 million and gains from the sale of real estates of CHF 3.6 million), EBIT increased by 15.7 % on a comparable basis (CHF 48.9 million compared with CHF 42.3 million in the previous year). EBIT was primarily positively influenced by the Wire Processing and Medical Devices Business Units.
The financial result amounted to CHF 8.7 million (previous year: CHF 17.6 million). This includes the pro rata net result of V-ZUG Holding AG, in which Metall Zug holds a stake of around 30 %. Since September 1, 2022, the pro rata net result of the minority interest of 25 % in Komax Holding AG has also been included in the financial result. Net profit reached CHF 137.3 million (previous year: CHF 53.3 million) and contains the abovementioned non-taxable gain of CHF 89.7 million from the combination between Schleuniger and Komax.
Operating cash flow under pressure in connection with the build-up of net working capital
Metall Zug generated an operating cash flow of CHF – 6.0 million in the reporting year (previous year: CHF 48.9 million). The sharp decline is related to the build-up of net working capital and in particular of inventories. On the one hand, work in progress increased due to the strong order intake compared to the previous year. On the other hand, inventories were deliberately built up to ensure the supply capability of our Business Units.
Net liquidity amounted to CHF 14.7 million as of December 31, 2022 (previous year: CHF 77.7 million).
Infection Control – Organic sales growth despite challenging market environment
The Belimed Infection Control Group achieved net sales of CHF 186.3 million in the reporting year (previous year: CHF 180.2 million). Adjusted for the effect of the spin-off of the Life Science service business to the Belimed Life Science Group of – 6.6 %, the acquisition effect of 1.5 % and the negative foreign currency effect of – 0.1 %, this corresponds to an organic growth of 8.6 %. The operating result (EBIT) amounted to CHF 1.7 million (previous year: CHF 2.6 million) and was thus below the previous year despite higher sales. In addition, EBIT included a positive one-time effect of CHF 1.6 million from the release of a provision for a legal case that was no longer required, as well as a gain from the sale of a property amounting to CHF 0.9 million.
Significantly increased freight costs as well as higher costs for raw materials, wages and IT infrastructure, combined with the discontinuation of the high-margin service business for Life Science customers, led to lower margins. In order to expand the portfolio in the consumables business in the future, Belimed Infection Control acquired Amity (UK), a supplier of chemical cleaning agents and disinfectants, in July 2022.
Medical Devices – Strong improvement in profitability
The Medical Devices Business Unit (Haag-Streit Group) increased net sales to CHF 225.6 million in 2022 (previous year: CHF 215.2 million). Adjusted for the divestment effect of – 3.2 % and the negative foreign exchange impact of – 0.6 %, this corresponds to organic growth of 8.6 %. The operating result (EBIT) came to CHF 28.8 million (previous year: CHF 24.6 million). EBIT for 2022 includes negative one-time effects of CHF – 0.8 million net (previous year: positive one-time effects of CHF 3.4 million). EBIT growth on an adjusted basis is a remarkable 39.9 %.
Sales performance was positively impacted by the high order backlog at the beginning of the reporting year and by catch-up effects in the market following the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite high inflation and rising cost pressure, Haag-Streit succeeded in maintaining the gross margin, among others, thanks to sales price increases. A more better utilization of factory capacities, efficiency improvements in processes, strict cost control in the area of OPEX and delays in reappointments due to the shortage of skilled labor resulted in a substantial increase in operating result compared to sales growth. Haag-Streit has reworked the Group strategy and adjusted the organization to competitively capture opportunities arising in the global ophthalmology market.
Technologycluster & Infrastructure – Completion of various projects on the site
The Technologycluster & Infrastructure Business Unit was able to increase rental income year-on-year thanks to the completion of building projects, and generated EBIT of CHF 2.9 million in the 2022 financial year (previous year: CHF 2.5 million). Construction work on the Mobility Hub Zug Nord, with 566 parking spaces and commercial space on the ground floor, has been completed, and the handover to tenants took place in fall 2022. The commercial spaces on the ground floor have been fully leased and occupied.
In addition, the 25-meter-high natural artwork Semiramis, consisting of five planted wooden bowls manufactured by robots at ETH Zurich, has been completed and was presented at a vernissage in July. The sculpture now symbolizes the long-term and sustainable focus of the Tech Cluster Zug.
Interior work for Westhive, a provider of flexible co-working spaces, in the former V-ZUG spare parts warehouse, was finalized. In August 2022, the premises with a space of 2 000 square meters were handed over to the tenant Westhive.
Reporting Segment Others – Strong sales growth but unsatisfactory operating result, Leap in EBIT due to one-time effect
Belimed Life Science Group, Gehrig Group AG and Metall Zug AG are grouped together in the Others reporting segment. The reporting segment posted net sales of CHF 86.2 million in 2022 (previous year: CHF 68.4 million) and EBIT of CHF 82.6 million (previous year: CHF – 2.1 million). The significant increase in EBIT is the result of the book gain of CHF 89.7 million from the deconsolidation of the Schleuniger Group recognized in Metall Zug AG. Adjusted for this effect, the operating result of CHF – 7.1 million deviates from the previous year mainly due to the negative result of the Belimed Life Science Group.
In the reporting year, Belimed Life Science recorded order intake that was not only significantly above the previous year, but also above expectations. A large number of new projects are the result of the strategy of pharmaceutical companies to secure local markets and relocalize production, with a focus on the USA and the Asian region (South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan). However, the challenging supply situation for mechanical and electronic components led to major delays in the completion and delivery of equipment. At CHF 51.7 million (previous year: CHF 38.6 million), sales were significantly higher than in the previous year. Sharp increases in raw material prices, especially for stainless steel, and significant price increases for components had a negative impact on margins, with the result that EBIT clearly missed the profit zone.
Gehrig Group generated net sales of CHF 34.5 million in the reporting year (previous year: CHF 29.8 million). The increase in sales compared to the previous year is mainly due to the lifting of the COVID-19 measures in February 2022 and the resulting increase in customer frequency in the hotel and gastronomy sector. Gehrig Group succeeded in consolidating its market position for commercial kitchen equipment and further expanded its cleaning products business. Despite a more favorable sales development and improved gross margin, EBIT slightly missed the profit zone. The reasons for this included high costs for the development of new products and services, particularly in dishwashing and digitalization, and in administration. In the reporting year, Gehrig Group started to further firm up its strategy and to focus on its core operating business.
Combination between Schleuniger and Komax successfully completed
Metall Zug has contributed its Wire Processing Business Unit, the Schleuniger Group, to Komax Holding AG as of August 30, 2022, in return for a 25 % stake in Komax Holding AG. Through the combination between Schleuniger and Komax, Metall Zug has achieved a further milestone in the implementation of its anchor shareholder strategy following the spin-off of V-ZUG.
The Schleuniger Group was fully consolidated in the consolidated financial statements of the Metall Zug Group from January 1 to August 30, 2022. During this period, the Business Unit generated net sales of CHF 159.0 million and an operating result (EBIT) of CHF 20.0 million, which includes the gain on sale of a property of CHF 2.8 million. Since September 1, 2022, Metall Zug’s interest in the Komax Group’s net result has been reported in the financial result of Metall Zug AG.
Metall Zug realized a one-time and EBIT-effective book gain of CHF 89.7 million from this transaction, which is reported in the Others reporting segment.
Changes in leadership of Metall Zug AG
The former members of the Board of Directors of Metall Zug AG, Heinz M. Buhofer, Sandra Emme, and Peter Terwiesch did not stand for re-election at the last General Meeting. Bernhard Eschermann was newly elected to the Board of Directors at the 2022 General Meeting of Shareholders.
The Board of Directors will also propose the election of David Dean (64, Swiss citizen) as a new member of the Board of Directors to the General Meeting of Shareholders on April 28, 2023. He is currently a member of the Boards of Directors of Bossard Holding AG, Burckhardt Compression Holding AG, Brugg Group AG, Komax Holding AG and, since 2020, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Haag-Streit Holding AG, which is part of the Metall Zug Group.
Daniel Keist, former CFO and sole member of the Senior Management of Metall Zug AG, retired at the end of August 2022 and handed over the management of Metall Zug AG to a young management team. The Board of Directors thanks Daniel Keist for his commitment, his dedication and the successes he has achieved, and wishes him all the best for the future. Since September 1, 2022, the Senior Management of Metall Zug AG has been headed by Matthias Rey as CEO and Urs Scherrer as CFO. Matthias Rey held the position of Head of Legal at the Metall Zug Group from 2014 to 2022, and Urs Scherrer was Head of Group Controlling & Reporting for the Metall Zug Group from 2015 to 2022. The Board of Directors is proud that the change in operational management has been handled entirely from within the company’s own ranks and wishes the new management team every success in their new tasks.
Sustainability initiatives are driven forward in the group
In fall 2022, the Multi Energy Hub, which has been developed by Tech Cluster Zug over the last eight years and constructed in several stages, was put into operation. It is operated in partnership with WWZ AG. The basic idea is to create a low-emission, energy-saving and secure overall supply for the new district of Zug North. Heating, cooling, electricity and gas, as well as data, are routed in convergent networks. The profiles of all consumers and producers are synchronized in real time by intelligent control, so that energy can be used efficiently. Photovoltaic systems on the buildings, water from the Lake of Zug (Circulago) and groundwater wells serve as energy sources, with the wells being used not only as a source but also as an important seasonal storage facility for heat.
As part of the internal CO2 Fund, a project for the innovative pyrolytic production of hydrogen was initiated in 2022, among other things. The role of Tech Cluster Zug in this project is to co-initiate and lead the Association for the Decarbonization of the Industry, with the aim of realizing a demonstrator for the pyrolysis of methane, embedded in the ecosystem of Tech Cluster Zug, over the coming years. Pyrolytically produced hydrogen is less pure than electrolytically produced hydrogen, but considerably less expensive. It is particularly suitable for the decarbonization of high-temperature process plants, such as those operated by V-ZUG, and for generating electricity and heat in cogeneration plants. If successful, the companies on the Tech Cluster Zug site could potentially reduce their CO2 emissions by up to 900 tons per year.
Sustainability measures were initiated and implemented by the various Business Units worldwide not only in connection with the defined focus topic “Climate & Resources”, but also in the areas of “Employees”, “Products & Services” and “Society & Value Creation”.
Proposal for dividend distribution and contribution into CO2 fund
The Board of Directors will propose to the General Meeting of Shareholders on April 28, 2023, a cash dividend in the amount of CHF 3.00 gross per Series A registered share and CHF 30.00 gross per Series B registered share. This dividend is unchanged compared to the previous year.
In addition, the Board of Directors proposes to pay an amount of CHF 675 000 (corresponding to 5 % of the proposed dividend distribution) into the CO2 fund charged to the income statement 2023 for additional projects in the context of sustainability.
In the second half of 2022 and the first months of 2023, we see a partly declining demand from customers, which is reflected in lower order intake. We expect a stable development of sales and a result that will be affected by increased investments in research and development.
Key Figures of Metall Zug Gruppe
1) On August 30, 2022, the Schleuniger Group (Wire Processing Business Unit) was deconsolidated and contributed into Komax Holding AG. In return, Metall Zug AG received a 25% stake in Komax Holding AG. As a consequence, the figures of the financial year 2022 are not comparable to the previous year.
About the Metall Zug Group
Metall Zug is a group of industrial companies headquartered in Zug. The Group has around 2,300 employees and comprises four Business Units:
The holding company Metall Zug AG is listed in the Swiss Reporting Standard of SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich (type B registered shares: securities number 3982108, ticker symbol METN).
The expectations expressed in this announcement are based on assumptions. Actual results may vary from those anticipated. This announcement is published in German and English. The German version is binding. Metall Zug AG processes personal data in accordance with its privacy statement available under: https://www.metallzug.ch/en/datenschutzerklaerung.
End of Inside Information