HERZOGENAURACH, Germany, May 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Global automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler has had a good start to its 2015 business year. In terms of both revenue and EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes), the company continued along its growth path in the 1st quarter of 2015. "We started the new year off successfully, continuing along our charted course of growth with record levels of revenue and EBIT," Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG, said on Thursday in Herzogenaurach.
The Schaeffler Group generated first quarter revenue of EUR 3.3 billion. This represents a 12.4 percent growth rate compared to the prior year, 5.3 percent excluding the impact of currency translation.
The favorable revenue trend was once more driven by the company's Automotive business. With its growth rate of 13.5 percent compared to the prior year (+6.7 percent at constant currency), Schaeffler's Automotive division again clearly outpaced the production volumes of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in terms of growth (+0.6 percent). The Automotive division benefitted from the continuing high demand for its products, especially in the key sales markets of China and the U.S. Industrial business revenue rose by 9.3 percent (+1.3 percent at constant currency). Growth was strongest in Schaeffler's Greater China region, where high demand in the rail vehicles and wind power sectors favorably affected revenue.
"Currency translation made a significant favorable impact on our revenue in the 1st quarter of 2015. However, all business divisions increased their revenue on a constant currency basis, as well," CFO Dr. Ulrich Hauck explained. Revenue grew fastest in the Schaeffler Group's Greater China region, rising by 40 percent (+17 percent at constant currency) over prior year there, followed by the group's Americas region, where revenue increased by 26 percent (+12 percent at constant currency). The Asia/Pacific region experienced revenue growth of 7 percent (-5 percent at constant currency), while the Europe region grew its revenue by 4 percent (+3 percent at constant currency).
The Schaeffler Group's EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) increased to EUR 434 million for the first three months of 2015 from the prior year period (prior year: EUR 418 million). The company's EBIT margin measured in terms of revenue remained high and amounted to 13.0 percent for the first quarter of 2015 (prior year: 14.0 percent).
The Schaeffler Group significantly increased its cash flows from operating activities to EUR 184 million for the first three months of 2015 (prior year: EUR 134 million) while consistently expanding capacity. Capital expenditures of EUR 244 million were significantly higher than in the prior year period (prior year: EUR 155 million). The capex ratio (capital expenditures as a percentage of consolidated revenue) amounted to 7.3 percent (prior year: 5.2 percent). The increase in capital expenditures and the seasonal expansion of working capital led to negative free cash flow of EUR 60 million for the first three months of 2015 (prior year: negative free cash flow of EUR 19 million).
The number of employees has increased by more than 1,000 staff from the end of 2014, rising to approximately 83,300 at the end of the first quarter. The company recruited skilled personnel primarily in production and production-related areas, mainly in its Europe and Greater China regions.
In light of the encouraging start to the year the company is confirming its guidance for 2015 as a whole. "Our strategic concept 'Mobility for tomorrow' has been very well received. The measures we have taken under our 'ONE Schaeffler' program are starting to pay off. Despite the demanding environment, we are optimistic that we will be able to achieve our annual targets – revenue growth of 5 to 7 percent at constant currency and an EBIT margin of 12 to 13 percent," Rosenfeld said.
The Schaeffler Group is a leading global integrated automotive and industrial supplier. The company stands for the highest quality, outstanding technology, and strong innovative ability. The Schaeffler Group makes a key contribution to "Mobility for tomorrow" with high-precision components and systems in engine, transmission, and chassis applications as well as rolling and plain bearing solutions for a large number of industrial applications. The company generated sales of approximately EUR 12.1 bn in 2014. With more than 82,000 employees, Schaeffler is one of the world's largest technology companies in family ownership and, with approximately 170 locations in 50 countries, has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, and sales companies.
The full interim report as of March 31, 2015 is available for download at:
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Forward-looking statements and projections
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and assumptions could adversely affect the outcome and financial consequences of the plans and events described herein. No one undertakes any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You should not place any undue reliance on forward-looking statements which speak only as of the date of this press release. Statements contained in this press release regarding past trends or events should not be taken as representation that such trends or events will continue in the future. The cautionary statements set out above should be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that Schaeffler, or persons acting on its behalf, may issue.