Mar 12, 2015 / 6:00 CET/CEST
Bad Ragaz/Switzerland, March 12, 2015.
Record-high sales in fourth quarter 2014
In the fourth quarter of 2014, INFICON (SIX Swiss Exchange: IFCN) achieved a sales increase of 7.2% over the respective strong prior-year period. Compared with the third quarter of 2014, sales rose by 18.8% and reached a new quarterly record high of USD 86.4 million. Excluding negative currency effects (-3.2 percentage points) and marginal contributions from acquisitions (+0.1 percentage points), INFICON achieved an organic sales growth of 10.4% over the last quarter of 2013. Large shipments of instruments to analyze hazardous organic compounds (HAPSITE) to customers in the USA and Asia pushed INFICON's sales in our Emergency Response & Security market 23.1% up to a record-high USD 13.3 million. Compared with the preceding third quarter, this represents an increase of 111.1%. The sales generated in the market for Specific Vacuum Process Industries increased in the fourth quarter just marginally (+0.3%) compared with the same prior-year period, but strongly (+24.6%) over the preceding third quarter to USD 29.9 million. In the semiconductor market, demand from tool manufacturers and chip makers in the USA and Asia developed positively, while the market for optics and displays remained stable. The photovoltaic market remained weak. Fourth quarter sales in the Refrigeration & Air Conditioning market increased by 24.8% compared with the respective prior-year period and by 9.4% over the third quarter to USD 15.1 million. This surge was largely supported by the globally successful supplies to the automotive industry and the record-high demand in Asia. The market for General Vacuum Applications saw a slight gain in the private-label business, yet direct sales continued to prevail. The demand in Europe was rather weak. Compared with the same period a year ago, the sales figure of USD 28.1 million was stable (+1.1%) or even slightly in decline (-1.7%) when compared with the third quarter of 2014.
The gross profit margin (see ”Factsheet Q4 2014“) improved in the fourth quarter from 50.8% a year ago to now 52.2%. The profit from operations amounts to USD 18.7 million, yielding a strong margin of 21.7% of sales (prior-year figure: 18.1%). Net profit rose from USD 12.5 million to USD 13.9 million. This translates into a margin of 16.1% of sales or earnings per share of USD 5.92 after USD 5.37 a year ago.
Appealing 2014 results
After the extraordinarily strong fourth quarter, INFICON reports full-year sales of USD 305.5 million (see “Factsheet 2014“). Excluding effects from acquisitions (+0.7 percentage points) and exchange rate fluctuations (-0.3 percentage points), sales grew organically by 3.9%. In nominal terms, sales grew by 4.3% compared with the prior-year figure. The sales generated with customers in the market for Emergency Response & Safety contributed most to this growth with an increase of 32.0% to USD 35.9 million. The sales to Refrigeration & Air Conditioning customers (including Automotive) also contributed to the overall growth with an increase of 13.4% to USD 54.3 million. The business volume generated in the market for Specific Vacuum Process Industries (USD 100.6 million; -1.5%) did not quite reach the previous year's figures. The USD 114.7 million sales reported in the broadly based General Vacuum Applications market was also slightly
(-0.9%) weaker than a year ago.
Looking at the sales split per region, both the full-year figures and the quarterly results underline the economic strength of North America (Q4 sales increase +15.1% to USD 28.2 million; full-year increase +12.2% to USD 98.4 million) and Asia (Q4 increase +19.9% to USD 33.8 million; full-year increase + 3.6% to USD 107.6 million). Europe, in contrast, developed weakly (Q4 decrease -10.2% to USD 23.7 million; year-end decrease -1.5% to USD 95.4 million).
Based on year-end figures, the gross margin increased from 50.3% to 50.9%. After higher investments in sales and marketing and largely stable expenditures for product development, INFICON reports a robust profit from operations of USD 51.4 million. The respective margin climbed 1.0 percentage point up to 16.8%. Net profit was USD 38.6 million, up from USD 35.3 million a year ago. This equals a margin improvement by 0.5 percentage points to 12.6%. Per share, INFICON reports for the full fiscal year of 2014 earnings of USD 16.50 after USD 15.23 a year ago.
Strong cash flow, high level of liquid assets and very solid equity ratio
INFICON generated a very strong cash flow from operations of USD 17.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. For the full business year, the cash flow from operations amounted to USD 50.1 million. This operational success is also reflected in the amount of cash and cash equivalents shown by December 31, 2014 of USD 81.0 million (2013: USD 75.0 million). The tightly managed working capital improved to 20.2% of sales in the fourth quarter. Inventory turns remained with 3.9 times, unchanged from the preceding quarter. The balance sheet is debt-free after the payback of a short-term loan and boasts a very healthy equity ratio of 81.9%.
The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for April 29, 2015 to distribute CHF 15.00 per share for the business year 2014 out of capital reserves.
INFICON expects for the current business year 2015 sales between USD 300 million and USD 330 million and an operating profit of USD 48 million to USD 58 million.
Media and Analyst conference
INFICON will discuss the fourth quarter results and the year-end figures 2014 today March 12, 2015 in greater detail at a joint media and analyst conference held in German at 09:00 a.m. at Zunfthaus zum Rüden, Limmatquai 42, 8001 Zürich. The respective presentation slides in English are available for download at 07:00 a.m. in the Investors' area of the INFICON website www.inficon.com.
Annual Report 2014
INFICON has published its full 2014 annual report online as a structured pdf optimized for online and mobile reading on www.inficon com
Corporate Calendar 2015
The first quarter results 2015 will be reported on April 16, 2015 by issuing a media release. Further details will be discussed in an English speaking conference call later that day. The conference call will be recorded and archived on the website.
The Annual General Meeting of Shareholders is scheduled for April 29, 2015, at 03:00 p.m. CEST at the Sorrell Hotel Tamina, Am Platz 35, Bad Ragaz/Switzerland.
INFICON's corporate Calendar is regularly updated and available online at
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Chief Financial Officer
+423 388 3510
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