The Schaffner Group expanded its net sales by 10.2% in fiscal year 2012/13, from CHF 176.9 million to CHF 194.9 million. The sales growth amounted to 8.6% in local currencies. New orders grew to CHF 196.8 million (prior year: CHF 180.2 million), giving the Group a positive book-to-bill ratio of 1.01. Although the steady sales shift to the Asia-Pacific region continued unabated - a region where the more intense competition exerts downward pressure on prices - and despite the volume-driven underutilization of the plants during much of the year, the Group's operating margin (EBIT margin) was pushed up to 4.8% from the prior year's 4.1%. Operating profit (EBIT) increased by 31% to CHF 9.4 million (prior year: CHF 7.2 million) and net profit for the period was up by 62% year-on-year, reaching CHF 6.3 million (prior year: CHF 3.9 million).
The recovery of the strategic growth markets was the mainspring of this upturn. Especially the market for renewable energy boasted very dynamic growth, thanks to the strong demand from the photovoltaic industry led by China and Japan. In the summer of 2013, a gradual recovery in the European market for industrial electronics also started to take hold. For fiscal 2013/14 the management expects the Schaffner Group to deliver sales growth in the high single-digit range and a further improvement in operating margin.