Financial and press releases

Half-year figures of the INDUS Group marked by coronavirus pandemic – measures to improve EBIT margin

Bergisch Gladbach, 6 August 2020

  • Revenues and earnings below previous year
  • Construction/Infrastructure segment well above expectations
  • Automotive Technology deep in the red
  • First signs of recovery
  • Forecast for the fiscal year 2020

Four of the five segments of INDUS Holding AG were significantly affected by the economic and operational implications of the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of 2020. Sales revenues of the INDUS Group declined by 11.7% to EUR 774.2 million in the first six months. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to EUR -18.3 million in the first half of the year. This includes impairment losses on goodwill as a result of impairment tests required during the course of the year in the amount of EUR 31.6 million as well as impairments and further expenses resulting from the sale and closure of business units in the amount of EUR 8.9 million. The sales and closures moreover resulted in a value adjustment of deferred tax assets in the amount of EUR 2.7 million.

Due to the significantly reduced increase in working capital, the operating cash flow improved by EUR 4.6 million compared to the previous year to EUR 29.0 million. At EUR 150.8 million at the end of the first half of the year, the Group’s liquidity remained at a deliberately high level and serves as a comfortable buffer to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The INDUS Group companies employed an average of 10,767 people in the first six months of 2020 (previous year: 10,710). At the end of June, about 2,680 employees were on short-time working.

Light and shadow at the segments

Sales revenues in the Construction/Infrastructure segment increased once again by EUR 8.1 million or 4.2% to EUR 199.0 million compared to the same period of the previous year. Earnings before interest and taxes rose by a disproportionate 30.2% to EUR 36.2 million (previous year: EUR 27.8 million). The EBIT margin reached a very high level of 18.2%, which is well above expectations. “The megatrends – digitalization, infrastructure expansion, housing construction and sustainability – persist despite the coronavirus,” says Dr. Johannes Schmidt, Chairman of the Board of Management of the INDUS Group. “The segment is an important pillar of the Group in these times, but cannot compensate for the declines in the other segments.”

The well-known structural problems in the automotive industry were, for example, considerably aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic. The Automotive Technology segment recorded sharp drops in sales in April and May. The segment’s sales revenues declined by 27.7% to EUR 132.6 million. At EUR -29.1 million, earnings before interest and taxes were clearly below the previous year. The EBIT margin before impairment fell to -21.9%.

Sales revenues in the Engineering segment were down by 20.1% year-on-year to EUR 165.8 million. In particular, the export-oriented companies were significantly affected by the coronavirus crisis, after a general calming of the market had already been recorded before the pandemic. Earnings before interest and taxes dropped by EUR 18.7 million to EUR 4.1 million. The EBIT margin stood at 2.5%.

The decline in sales revenues in the Metals Technology was comparatively moderate (-3.4% to EUR 206.4 million). At EUR 8.9 million, earnings before interest and taxes before impairment were down by EUR 7.4 million on the previous year. The segment result includes impacts from the ongoing shutdown of SIMON’s plastics electroplating unit and the poor business performance of the Swiss BACHER AG. The EBIT margin before impairment stood at 4.3%.

Sales revenues in the Medical Engineering / Life Science segment fell by 13.4% to EUR 70.6 million in the first half of 2020. The segment’s companies were more severely affected by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic than initially expected. Earnings before interest and taxes dropped by EUR 5 million to EUR 4.1 million. The EBIT margin was 5.8%. Encouragingly, sales revenues picked up again noticeably in June and almost reached the previous year’s level.

Measures aimed at optimizing the portfolio

In connection with the PARKOUR strategy program, INDUS has launched a first set of measures to optimize its portfolio. The goal is a significant improvement of the EBIT margin. In this context, the Board of Management examines whether, in individual cases, a company and its employees have better long-term development opportunities under another owner. Two companies were sold in the first half of the year, and the negotiations for a third one are nearing completion. Companies for which restructuring efforts fail to produce the hoped-for results even after an extended period of time are closed down. This currently affects three companies. Dr. Johannes Schmidt: “We are creating the conditions that will enable us to focus completely on the development of our portfolio companies and the acquisition of hidden champions in industries of the future.”

In the second quarter, INDUS acquired the remaining shares of the co-shareholders in MBN Maschinenbaubetriebe GmbH and in the SELZER Group and now owns 100% of both companies. The shares of a co-shareholder in Peiseler GmbH & Co. KG were also purchased as planned. 

Forecast depends on the course of the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a historic crash of the German economy. Germany is experiencing the worst recession since the end of the Second World War. Several institutes had to correct their forecasts repeatedly in the past weeks. Reliable forecasts cannot be made in the current situation.  

This uncertainty also affects the planning of the INDUS Group. “We have nevertheless decided to give our shareholders an orientation at this point in time and publish a forecast for the fiscal year 2020,” says Dr. Johannes Schmidt. “As of today, we expect sales revenues in the range of EUR 1.45 billion to EUR 1.6 billion and earnings before interest and taxes in the range of EUR 0 million to EUR 20 million.” This includes impairment losses as well as expenses for the formation of provisions which were already communicated on 7 July 2020 and booked in the second quarter of 2020. The updated forecast is based on the assumption that the bottom of the economic situation was reached in the second quarter of 2020, that there will be a slight recovery in the second half of 2020 and that there will be no further lockdowns in Germany and important output markets.

Dr. Johannes Schmidt: “I am confident that the German SMEs with their virtues and creativity will also master this special time. The companies of the INDUS Group are a good example for this. We will all have to learn to handle the virus and adapt our processes. First signs of a recovery that we have been seeing since June show that this can work.”

The virtual Annual Shareholders’ Meeting of INDUS Holding AG required this year will be held on 13 August 2020. The manuscript of the speech of the Chairman of the Board of Management will be published on the website at already on 6 August 2020.

The half-year report is available here.

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