Financials for first quarter of 2010 (preliminary) and financial year 2009
- Good start in 2010 with 50% gain in revenues in first quarter and positive operating result
- Nabaltec confirms 2009 preliminary figures with revenues of EUR 73.1 million and an operating result of EUR -2.7 million
- Clear improvement in both business divisions continues
In the first quarter of 2010 Nabaltec AG sustained the clear turnaround from the second half of 2009, boosting the pace of recovery. According to preliminary figures, revenues across the Group increased in the first three months by 50% to around EUR 24.4 million after EUR 16.3 million in the same quarter from the previous year. The effect of the previous year's weak quarter should be kept in mind in this comparison. According to preliminary figures, Nabaltec also returned to profit in terms of the operating result. EBIT in the first quarter of 2010 was EUR 0.9 million, while a loss of EUR 1.8 million had been incurred in the same quarter from the previous year. Revenues in March, the best monthly revenues in Q1/2010, provide another indication of the potential sustained nature of this turnaround.
Both business divisions are contributing to the upward trend. The gain in the "Functional Fillers" business division (around 57%) was slightly stronger than that in "Technical Ceramics" (approx. 37%), though "Functional Fillers" also benefitted from a somewhat different course of business in the same quarter from the previous year. In the US, the Nashtec subsidiary maintained the more stable performance already registered in 2009 with a clear increase in output. Nashtec is meanwhile producing at near full capacity. The revenue gain in fineprecipitated hydroxide in the US is supported by a competitor's announcement that it would discontinue production of fineprecipitated hydroxide in the US over the course of the year.
With the presentation of the 2009 financial statements, Nabaltec AG can today also confirm the preliminary figures and report revenues of EUR 73.1 million (previous year: EUR 96.3 million) and EBIT of EUR -2.7 million (previous year: EUR 4.1 million) for 2009. The 2009 financials still show clear traces of the global economic crisis and the tough trends in many of Nabaltec's target industries, such as the cable & wire, insulation, polishing, refractory and steel industries. Nevertheless, Nabaltec succeeded in generating positive cash flow of EUR 4.6 million in 2009. The investment program progressed on a scale of around EUR 20 million in 2009, concluding with the commissioning of the new additive production facility in Schwandorf at the end of 2009. With the introduction of additives for the plastics industry and boehmites for the electronics industry, Nabaltec developed two new additional markets for the future.
Clear upward trends in revenues and earnings were already evident in the second half of 2009 at the Group level and in the "Functional Fillers" and "Technical Ceramics" business divisions. Consolidated revenues in the second half of 2009 were 20.8% higher than in the first six months. In terms of EBIT, Nabaltec returned to the profit threshold - adjusted for special effects in the second half - even though the operating result in the year as a whole remained sharply negative at EUR -2.7 million.
The US subsidiary Nashtec successfully bucked the general economic and industry trends in 2009, the US and Asian markets being the first to show signs of a slow recovery. In both regions, revenues were already performing again at a high level as of the second quarter of 2009. As a result, Nashtec registered positive performance in 2009, playing a key role in increasing the US share in Nabaltec's revenues mix from 8.1 to 10.7%. Nashtec has been cash positive since the first half of 2009, and has reached breakeven in operative terms. With increasing utilization of capacity in the second half of 2009, Nashtec attained figures hardly thought possible in light of the industry environment.
In 2008 and 2009 Nabaltec also carried out comprehensive costcutting and other measures to render capacities and production processes more flexible. The rate of material costs in total performance was reduced in 2009 by 3.8 percentage points, in large part due to more favorable energy prices in the United States. At 48.0%, the gross profit margin in 2009 was higher than the same figure from the previous year (44.8%). In absolute terms, gross profit decreased from EUR 45.1 to 34.3 million. Personnel expenses were lowered by a total of EUR 2.4 million, though extraordinary additions to pension reserves in the fourth quarter of 2009 reduced the annual savings in personnel expenses to EUR 1.5 million. At the same time, the headcount increased slightly by two persons from 347 to 349 in 2009. Other operating expenses decreased from EUR 18.6 to 15.0 million. Nabaltec also realized savings in thirdparty services of EUR 1.8 million.
The Nabaltec Group closed 2009 with a consolidated result (after noncontrolling interests) of EUR -5.0 million, after EUR 1.1 million in the previous year. Earnings per share thus amounted to EUR -0.63 (previous year: EUR 0.14).
Nabaltec expects the company to return to its longterm growth track in 2010, both at the Group level and in the two business divisions. The company's goal is to attain revenues growth in the low twodigit percentage range and to sharply improve earnings over 2009, with the perspective of achieving a balanced result at the operative level. Market conditions are right in all of Nabaltec's product segments. New market studies by Frost & Sullivan, for example, forecast market growth for halogenfree flame retardants - Nabaltec's strongest revenues segment - of 8.1% a year through 2014. Nabaltec plans to profit from this growth in flame retardants in several ways: by taking advantage of the growth forecast for the general market, by replacing the environmentally harmful flame retardants still being used with ecofriendly products, and by taking market share away form its competitors on the strength of its high quality and innovative products. After we have seen a clear stabilization we also anticipate a moderate growth in the market for technical ceramics and refractory products in 2010, as global steel production, a key indirect target segment, is showing clear signs of recovery.