Biella Group with stable business development in the first half of 2018 – Group-wide restructuring on course
- Turnover slightly up on last year
- Implementation of Group-wide restructuring measures proceeding as planned
- Earnings affected by non-recurring restructuring costs – adjusted earnings at last
Brügg/Biel, 29 August 2018 – Biella-Neher Holding AG (Biella Group), the largest European producer of lever arch files and ring binders, saw stable business development in the first half of 2018. At the same time, extensive Group restructuring, including site closures in Poland and the Netherlands, proceeded as planned. While turnover was up slightly on last year, restructuring costs weighed heavily on earnings. Group earnings adjusted for these non-recurring costs were also slightly higher than in the previous year.
Turnover slightly up on last year – innovations make positive contribution
The turnover achieved during the reporting period was CHF 59.8 million, up almost 1% on the previous year (CHF 59.3 million). In addition to positive currency conversion effects, the company’s innovation and digitisation offensive made a major contribution to this pleasing development. Sales increased considerably, due to services and organisational changes for the rapidly growing digital sales formats, as well as the newly launched, innovative products.
When assessing the half-year results, the pronounced seasonal nature of the office supplies market should be taken into account, with the second half of the year expected to be
significantly more positive than the first in terms of sales and income.
Group-wide restructuring measures being implemented on schedule
In March this year, Biella announced extensive Group-wide restructuring measures. These include closure of the production plant in Szydlowiec (PL) and the local sales units in Warsaw (PL) and Hoorn (NL). Production and sales for the European business outside Switzerland will therefore be concentrated at Biella-Falken GmbH in Peitz (D) in order to improve the productivity and profitability of the Biella Group significantly in future.
Implementation of the measures has since been running at full speed and largely been completed, in some cases even faster than planned. Socially acceptable solutions were agreed for the employees at the affected sites.
Earnings heavily affected by non-recurring costs for Group-wide restructuring measures – adjusted operating profit at last year’s level
Due to the non-recurring restructuring costs, Group earnings of CHF -5.9 million and operating profit of CHF -5.8 million were significantly lower than the previous year (CHF -1.9 million and CHF 1.5 million respectively). Due to rapid implementation of the restructuring measures, a large proportion of the associated costs were already incurred in the first half of 2018. On 30 June, these amounted to CHF 4.1 million and are therefore in line with expectations. Adjusted for these non-recurring costs, Group earnings came in at CHF -1.7 million, up slightly on the previous year’s figure of CHF -1.9 million. Despite a significant increase in raw material costs, the adjusted operating profit of CHF -1.7 million almost reached last year’s level of CHF -1.5 million. This was largely due to ongoing efforts to increase efficiency as well as further cost optimisations.
Solid balance sheet
The picture painted by the Biella Group’s balance sheet was once again encouraging. Despite the restructuring costs, the equity capital ratio of 65.1% (last year: 64.9%) remained at a consistently high level. In order to support production relocation as part of the restructuring measures, inventories were increased temporarily. This affected net liquidity, which temporarily fell from CHF 6.6 million to CHF 5.5 million. At the same time, financial debt was further reduced as planned.
Further tough challenges await the company in the second half of the year. The aim now is to continue pushing ahead with innovation and digitisation as positive countermeasures to the generally declining market. From September, production will be ramped up for year-end business at the expanded Peitz site. This will lead to a further, incremental improvement in the efficiency and profitability of the Biella Group.
Biella is confident that these strategic thrusts will make the company well-equipped for the future and allow it to start generating significantly higher EBIT margins again after 2018, which has been a year of transition due to the widespread restructuring.
The Biella Group helps organisations of all sizes, as well as individuals, to manage and find all types of documents efficiently and easily. As one of Europe's most important and successful providers of office supplies and the inventor of the lever arch file, Biella is an expert in the storage of physical documents. Innovative solutions ensure order in the world of digital information and documents. Hybrid products combine the physical and digital document cycles. With Biella's solutions, documents can be managed and found quickly, easily and efficiently. Some 580 people are employed throughout the Biella Group. www.biellagroup.com
The shares of Biella-Neher Holding AG (Valor: 151.948, ISIN: CH0001519484) are traded on the Berner Kantonalbank OTC-X and the ZKB e-KMU-X small-caps platforms and at Lienhardt & Partner.
If you have any questions, please contact:
|Biella Group||Marco Arrigoni, CEO|
|Biella-Neher Holding AG||Tel.: +41 32 366 34 04|
|Erlenstrasse 44||E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org|