The past year’s sales mix has improved our earning power. The year-on-year changes primarily illustrate the diverse possibilities open to us in the market which we also intend to seize in the future. Worthy of special mention in 2017 are crankshaft machines, coating projects, the modification of production systems and a significantly improved single-machine business. Order intake increased by 16%, thus providing a solid basis for 2018 as well high planning certainty for 2019 due to the projects in hand. We have been able to strengthen our sales in Europe and to intensify market cultivation. The positive order intake on our home continent confirms the measures we have taken. Similar steps are being taking in the US and in Asia.
Order intake: strong project business
The 2017 order intake amounts to EUR 612.8m. It exceeded last year’s forecast by EUR 52.8m (9.4%), making it the highest in the history of the HELLER Group. In terms of new-machine business, the order volume with single machines and projects is above the projected figures. Project business, especially with automotive customers, still accounts for more than 50% of our business volume. The significantly higher than anticipated order intake is mainly due to strong project business in Europe and China. The share of Europe (including Germany) has slightly increased to 64% (previous year: 56%); Asia still holds a high share of 23% (previous year: 24 %), whilst North and South America together make up for 13% (previous year: 20%).
Turnover and total operating revenue: significantly better than expected
At EUR 577.6m, the turnover achieved in 2017 was EUR 40.0m (+7%) above the previous year and exceeded last year’s forecast by EUR 17.6m. The volume of the single-machine business was 30% above the previous year, whilst project and service business was approximately at the level of 2016. Decrease in inventories and capitalised services included, the total operating revenue amounted to EUR 568.9m (previous year: EUR 527.5m). This corresponds to the level of the annual forecast and is far above average in multi-year comparison.
Result and capital resources: stable conditions
Compared with the previous year, the consolidated net income of the Group has doubled. This is the result of volume effects from the significantly higher total operating revenue and a change of the sales mix. It far outweighs the personnel-related additional expenditure. The equity ratio amounts to 30.7% (previous year: 29.9 %). All in all, the financial and assets position provides stable conditions.
Investments: consistent and on a global scale
In addition to investments aimed at preserving capacity and improving efficiency, a total of EUR 12.3m was invested in building infrastructure, logistics and IT at the Nürtingen location and in building stock and equipment at the location in Redditch/UK. Investments in Sorocaba/Brazil focused on the modernisation of machinery and business equipment.
Outlook for the financial year 2018: HELLER remains optimistic
The forecasts for the global economic situation in 2018 continue to be optimistic for the international markets as well as for Germany. The same is true for the economic situation in our industry. The global machine tool market will continue to grow in the medium and long term. We expect this growth to be reflected in the most important submarkets in which HELLER is present.
For the financial year 2018, we expect a moderate growth across all business areas and a good capacity utilisation of the HELLER Group. Internal procedures and structures of the HELLER Group have been sustainably improved in the previous periods.
In 2018, we will continue to invest into the on-going optimisation at HELLER. This includes investments in building infrastructure, machinery, IT and logistics aimed at preserving capacity and improving efficiency as well as the expansion of specific competencies that will have a sustained effect on our growth.
The decrease in new investments in the light-duty project business will be compensated by the growing utility vehicle business based on new emission standards. In terms of single-machine business, we also expect the positive trend to continue.