Mar 13, 2018 / 6:00 CET/CEST
Bad Ragaz/Switzerland, March 13, 2018
Record-high closing quarter 2017
INFICON (SIX Swiss Exchange: IFCN) achieved in the fourth quarter of 2017 with USD 102.1 million the highest quarterly sales in its history. Sales increased in all target markets and regions. Compared with the closing quarter of 2016, sales increased by 18.4%. Excluding currency effects (+2.2 percentage points), INFICON achieved an organic growth of 16.2%. Compared with the third quarter, the increase was 14.2%. The gross margin (51.6%) was slightly lower than the prior-year value (52.2%). After USD 7.4 million spent for research & development and USD 23.1 million for sales, general, and administrative cost, the operating income amounted to USD 22.2 million after USD 18.2 million a year ago. This translates into an operating income margin of 21.8% up from 21.1%. The net profit for the quarter rose to USD 21.5 million. Earnings per share amounted thus to USD 8.83 for the closing quarter after USD 5.79 a year ago.
In the General Vacuum market, sales improved in the fourth quarter by 32.7% to USD 29.2. million year-over-year, and by 11.9% compared with the preceding third quarter. These values reflect primarily the globally appealing economic trend, gains of market share, as well as first sales contributions from newly developed products such as those targeting the food packaging market. Overall, INFICON assesses the prospects for this broadly based, directly and indirectly served market optimistically.
In its biggest market, Semi & Vacuum Coating, INFICON's sales of USD 43.5 million grew 13.3% compared with the last quarter of 2016 and by 9.6% compared with the preceding third quarter. INFICON benefitted from the overall positive market conditions in the traditional semiconductor market. Both, the demand of semiconductor manufacturers for instruments as well as the request for INFICON components from equipment manufacturers remained high. In addition, INFICON benefitted from the continued strong demand for OLED flat panel displays and production capacity increases in Asia. INFICON is confident for this market for the months ahead.
Sales in the Refrigeration, Air Conditioning & Automotive market rose in the closing quarter year-over-year by 15.2% to USD 18.9 million. The comparison with the third quarter of 2017 reveals a plus of 2.2%. The traditional refrigeration and air conditioning business remained globally stable and on a high level. Product shipments for leak testing of automotive components, especially of batteries for electric cars, developed very nicely world-wide. INFICON is positive for the trend in this market for the upcoming months.
Sales to customers in the Security & Energy market more than doubled in the last quarter compared with the preceding third quarter and reached USD 10.5 million. This progress shows how much this market is dominated by large public orders and their timing. Compared with the prior-year figure, the fourth quarter sales rose by 11.7%. The influence of large orders from the public sector and their sequencing leads to an oscillating sales development which makes it challenging to reliably predict the business trend in this market.
Full year results 2017
The annual sales for 2017 rose by 20.6% to USD 373.6 million. Excluding currency effects (0.4% percentage points) and the sales contribution from acquisitions (0.2 percentage points), the organic growth achieved in 2017 was 20.1%. A year-over-year comparison shows that only the Security & Energy market did not reach its prior-year level. Due to its slow start into the year, the sales of USD 25.5 million achieved in this market declined by 23%, contributing 6.8% to overall sales. In all other target markets, sales increased considerably: Sales to customers in the Semi & Vacuum Coating market rose 38.5% to a record-high USD 167 million and contributed 44.7% to Group sales. In the General Vacuum market, INFICON grew its sales by 19.3% to USD 104.9 million, corresponding to 28.1% of global sales. The sales achieved in the Refrigeration, Air Conditioning & Automotive market increased – especially supported by the strong demand from the global automotive industry – by 11.9% to USD 76.2 million. This makes up for 20.4% of INFICON's global sales. A geographic analysis shows for Asia a surge of 33.3% to USD 174.2 million and for Europe a plus of 21.1% to USD 95.7 million. With 3.2%, America witnessed the smallest sales growth to USD 99.2 million.
The gross margin for the fiscal year 2017 amounted to 50.5% after 50.4% a year ago. Expenses for research and development as well as sales, general, and administrative costs rose in absolute terms, yet developed clearly under-proportionately compared with the overall sales trend. The operating income thus picked up from USD 51.0 million in 2016 to now USD 73.6 million. This translates into a strengthened operating income margin of 19.7% after 16.5% a year ago. After tax, net result amounted to USD 59.5 million, up from USD 40.3 million in 2016. This corresponds to a net income margin of 15.9%. Earnings per share for the full year 2017 rose from USD 16.94 at year-end 2016 to now USD 24.57.
Cash flow and balance sheet
INFICON generated in its fourth quarter of 2017 a markedly stronger cash flow from operations of USD 26.9 million, after having achieved USD 14 million in the third quarter. For the full year, INFICON achieved an operating cash flow of USD 61.4 million after USD 53.4 million a year ago. INFICON closed its books with liquid assets of USD 85.0 million (prior year USD 63.9 million). Inventory turns improved from 3.8 times at the end of 2016 to now 4.2 times. Due to the business development, inventories and accounts receivable augmented, so that the net working capital amounted to 22.4% after 20.7% a year ago. The debt-free balance sheet shows a solid equity ratio of 77.1%.
Distribution proposal and Annual General Meeting of Shareholders
The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for April 12, 2018 to distribute for fiscal 2017 CHF 20.00 per share out of capital reserves. The additional agenda items of the Annual General Meeting will be published shortly. The Meeting takes place at the Sorrell Hotel
Tamina, Am Platz 3, Bad Ragaz, on April 12, at 11.00 a.m.
Based on the positive market prospects, market share gains and rising sales generated with newly developed products and in additional application areas, INFICON expects to achieve sales of around USD 400 million and an operating income margin of over 19% for the current year 2018.
Media and Analyst conference
INFICON discusses its fourth quarter and full-year 2017 results today, March 13, 2018, in full detail at a live media and analyst conference held in German at 09:30 a.m. CET, at the Zunfthaus zum Rüden, Limmatquai 42, 8001 Zürich. The respective presentation slides in English are available for download from 07:00 a.m. in the Investor section of the INFICON Website www.inficon.com.
Annual Report 2017
Communication Calendar 2018
INFICON will publish the results for the first quarter 2018 on April 20, 2018 by distributing a press release internationally. Later that day, the results will be discussed in more detail during an international conference call in English which will also be archived.
INFICON continuously updates its communication calendar which is available online at http://bit.ly/IFCN_Calendar.
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e-mail alerts in the Investors section of the INFICON website or at http://bit.ly/IFCN_IR_home.
Chief Financial Officer
+423 388 3510
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