The Schaffner Group generated net sales of CHF 176.9 million in fiscal year 2011/12 (2010/11 restated: CHF 182.6 million). The sales reduction of 3.1% (or 4.7% in local currencies) was in line with expectations and resulted from the economic uncertainty in the euro countries, a cyclical low in traditional markets such as machine tools and robotics, and a sales slump in the renewable energy and rail markets in the first quarter of 2011/12. Schaffner MTC, which the Group acquired in September 2011, contributed CHF 16.8 million to sales in the reporting period (prior year for one month: CHF 1.2 million). Through savings in material and production costs, Schaffner largely offset higher staff costs in Thailand and China and further reduced its fixed costs. The shift in the geographic sales mix toward the more intensely competitive Asia-Pacific region drove up price pressure; this and the volume-induced underutilization of plants led to an operating (EBIT) margin of 4.1% (prior year: 7.0%), at the lower end of the expected range of 4% to 6%. Operating profit (EBIT) eased to CHF 7.2 million (from CHF 12.8 million) and net profit for the year declined to CHF 3.9 million (prior year: CHF 10.2 million). In fiscal 2011/12 the book-to-bill ratio (new orders to sales) was 1.02 (prior year: 0.97).
Provided the global economic situation does not worsen further, and assuming stable key currencies, Schaffner expects an increase in sales and in EBIT margin, especially in the first half of the new fiscal year relative to the 2011/12 comparative period. In the growth regions of Asia-Pacific and North America, and with new products and market share wins, Schaffner is well positioned both to grow structurally and to benefit disproportionately from a cyclical recovery in the markets. In the medium term - by fiscal year 2014/15 - the Schaffner Group, through organic growth of more than 8% per year and focused acquisitions in the EMC and Automotive divisions, aims to achieve net sales of CHF 250 million to CHF 280 million and an EBIT margin of between 9% and 12%.