- Incoming orders well up year over year and versus Q4 2011
- Sales revenues up 57% to € 562 million
- Operating profit tripled
- High order backlog of € 2.2 billion
Dürr’s incoming orders showed a broad international spread. Asia accounted for nearly 40% of the new orders in the first quarter of 2012, the Americas and Europe (including Eastern Europe) for just less than one quarter each, and Germany for a good 10%. Large orders for the construction of automobile paint shops came from China, Brazil, and the US. Incoming orders exceeded sales revenues by 20.8%, so orders on hand rose to € 2,247.9 million as of March 31, 2012.
The strong growth in incoming orders was attributable to three of the group’s four divisions. Paint and Assembly Systems, Application Technology, and Clean Technology Systems, which specializes in environmental and energy efficiency technologies, each achieved growth of over 30%. The Measuring and Process Systems division, which mainly supplies balancing equipment and cleaning systems, had received a number of large orders at its Cleaning and Filtration Systems business unit in the first quarter of 2011, which is why order intake was somewhat weaker in the first quarter of 2012 on year on year comparison.
A factor contributing to the improvement in group earnings was the less-than-proportional growth in selling and general administrative expenses compared to sales revenues. They rose by 20.3% to € 54.5 million. R&D spending was increased by 24.4% to € 8.6 million in the first quarter of 2012. The financial result stayed at the previous year’s level at € -6.2 million.
Despite the marked growth in earnings, operating cash flow was negative to the tune of € -18.7 million (Q1 2011: € -16.0 million) as more capital was tied up due to the growing volume of business. A significant improvement in cash flow is expected in the coming quarters. Dürr reported a positive net financial status of € 25.3 million as of March 31, 2012; a year ago it had still been slightly negative. Equity was increased in absolute terms by € 60.6 million to € 375.4 million; the equity ratio sank from 26.3% (March 31, 2011) to 22.5% (March 31, 2012) due to the strong growth in total assets.
On account of the positive business development Dürr hired 262 more employees worldwide in the first quarter of 2012. The focus continued to be in the emerging markets. In Germany, 36 new jobs were created in the first three months of the year; over the past twelve months the number of employees in Germany has been increased by a total of 204.
Dürr is expanding its production and assembly capacities at the site in Bietigheim-Bissingen. Work is due to start in the summer on the construction of a new workshop with a space of 6,000 m2. The second production facility for paint systems in Shanghai went into production in the first quarter of 2012. Capacities at Dürr’s locations in Mexico and Brazil are to be expanded in each case by about one third. Dürr set up a new company in Thailand in February so as to be able to address the growing demand in South-East Asia more effectively.
Dürr is leaving its positive outlook unchanged. Ralf W. Dieter commented: “The strong order intake in the first quarter of 2012, the unbroken buoyant level of requests for quotation, and our high order backlog suggest from today’s vantage point that our expectations for sales revenues and incoming orders will be achieved in 2012, assuming that there is no major deterioration in the general economic conditions.” Sales revenues are expected to rise by at least 5% to over € 2 billion in 2012. Incoming orders should also top the € 2 billion mark which, after the record order intake in 2011, is a very high level. Earnings after tax are expected to be up by at least 15%. At the end of 2012 it is estimated that the group will have about 400 to 500 more employees than at the beginning of the year (6,823).