Nordex growing and improving profitability in the course of 2009
• Rise in sales in the first nine months to EUR 814 (2008: 781) million
• 12% increase in gross profit to EUR 179 (160) million
• CEO Richterich: “Foundations in place for sustained profitable growth”
In the first nine months of 2009, the Nordex Group (ISIN: DE000A0D6554) generated a 4 percent increase in sales to EUR 814 million (previous year: EUR 781.1 million). This growth was underpinned by US business. US subsidiary Nordex USA, Inc. contributed 17 percent and, thus, almost one fifth to consolidated sales (previous year: 1 percent). However, Europe continued to account for the bulk of the Group’s business, contributing a total of 76 percent to consolidated sales (previous year: 89 percent).
As a result of reduced sourcing prices, gross profit climbed by 12 percent to EUR 179 million (previous year: EUR 160 million). At the same time, the cost-of-materials ratio contracted by 190 basis points over the same period one year earlier to 77.7 percent (previous year: 79.6 percent). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) contracted to EUR 21.9 million in the period under review (previous year: EUR 37.3 million) on account of higher structure costs. This particularly related to the establishment of new corporate structures in the United States as well as a number of key European markets. Thus, the staff cost ratio widened to 9.8 percent (previous year: 7.3 percent). In addition, Nordex continued to spend on extending and modernizing its production facilities as a crucial basis for ensuring future growth. This especially involved new and extended rotor blade production in Rostock and the establishment of manufacturing operations in the United States. All told, capital spending came to EUR 36.3 million (previous year: EUR 52.8 million), resulting in an increase in depreciation expense to EUR 13.8 million (previous year: EUR 12.3 million).
The third quarter of 2009 alone contributed more than half of earnings (EUR 12.4 million), resulting in a sequential improvement in the EBIT margin to 4.4 percent (Q2/2009: 3.3 percent).
The equity ratio remained at a stable high level of around 38 percent as of the balance sheet date. Cash and cash equivalents widened by EUR 26.6 million to EUR 138.3 million. Accordingly, Nordex considers its liquidity to be sufficient for financing its business and planned capital spending projects. Cash flow from operating activities rose substantially to EUR 5.5 million (previous year: net outflow of EUR 61 million) primarily as a result of destocking effects of EUR 15.1 million. At the same time, the working capital ratio was reduced to 17.4 percent in the course of the year in line with plans.
Order receipts remained modest in the course of 2009, rising by EUR 199 million in the third quarter to a total of EUR 638.3 million (previous year: EUR 796 million). This was primarily due to continued lending restraint on the part of banks, thus preventing wind farm operators from raising the necessary finance for their projects. The order backlog thus contracted to EUR 2.3 billion (December 31, 2008: EUR 3.0 billion) and comprised firmly financed contracts worth EUR 704 million and contingent contracts (master contracts including reservation fee) of EUR 1.6 billion. Against the backdrop of only minor growth in industry-wide sales volumes, Nordex continues to forecast an increase in its own full-year sales to around EUR 1.2 billion for 2009. The full-year EBIT margin is expected to contract to around 3 percent on account of reduced growth compared with the previous year.
“We expect our market to rebound more sharply in the course of 2010, which is why we have continued to spend judiciously despite the financial market crisis. In this way, we will be able to step up our international business immediately after the upswing starts gaining momentum,” says Thomas Richterich, CEO of Nordex AG. Between 2004 and 2008, Nordex was able to increase its sales by an annual rate of over 50 percent. Looking ahead over the coming year, management expects top-line growth in the single digits or low teens accompanied by a sustained improvement in profitability.