Biella records good operating and strategic progress in 2013 – restructuring measures lead to a reduction in Group Management
Brügg/Biel/Bienne, 19 March 2014 - The Biella Group, one of the most important office equipment manufacturers in Europe, experienced good further development in 2013. Whilst the office supplies market was declining noticeably, Biella was able to increase Group turnover in the year 2013 by almost 2% to CHF 191.2 million. In spite of several large exceptional charges, the operating result improved to CHF -0.9 million (previous year: CHF -2.3 million.). The takeover of the lever arch file business from Hamelin effected at the beginning of the current year was a further strategic milestone. In the wake of the restructuring measures, Group Management is to be reduced from four to two members. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting an unchanged dividend of CHF 125 per share (previous year: CHF 125).
In the year under report the Biella Group was able to increase turnover to CHF 191.2 million (previous year: CHF 188.2 million). Two significant structural effects are reflected here. On the one hand, turnover rose through the consolidation of the Falken Group throughout the year, which, after its acquisition in the previous year, was only factored into the consolidation with effect from the second quarter. On the other hand, divestments in the areas of soft plastics and the wholesale business in Poland, which had been implemented further to the focusing of foreign business on lever arch files and ring binders, reduced group turnover. Adjusted by these effects as well as currency factors, turnover decreased by 5% due to market influences. The share of turnover abroad increased to 70% (previous year: 66%).
The operating result in the year under report comes to CHF -0.9 million (previous year: CHF -2.3 million). This conspicuous improvement is essentially due to synergies from the Falken acquisition as well as cost reduction and restructuring measures. However, in the year just finished a few unforeseen large charges had to be absorbed. As a result of the drop in business volume due to market conditions, additional restructuring expenditure occurred and an adjustment to the value of a large product development project had to be undertaken. The Group result amounted to CHF - 1.2 million (previous year: CHF -3.8 million). Currency and money market influences, as well as a lower tax bill, had a positive effect here. Cash flow from business activities increased in the year 2013 to CHF 17.2 million (previous year: CHF 6.2 million) and therefore amounted to 9.0% of net
turnover (previous year: 3.3%). Apart from the improvement in the profit situation, this strong increase is due in particular to a reduction in working capital as a result of the divestments.
By focusing its business outside Switzerland on folders and ring binders, Biella has seriously slimmed down its management structure in the year under report. As a result, the Board of Directors has decided to reduce the Group Management team from four to two members. With effect from 19 March 2014, Jean-Pierre Mathias, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, and Jürgen Straub, Chief Operating Officer, will be leaving the Group Management team and the company by mutual agreement. Their respective duties will in future be handled by the management level below Group Management. The Board of Directors would like to thank both gentlemen for their commitment and for all the work they have done for the company. With immediate effect, Group Management will comprise Marco Arrigoni, CEO, and Andreas Schafhirt, CFO.
The Board of Directors proposes to the AGM an unchanged dividend of CHF 125 for the 2013 business year (previous year CHF 125). For the current year, Biella is working on the assumption that there will be an ongoing slight improvement in the general economic environment. However, the office supply sector will only benefit from weak stimuli. On the other hand, further positive effects will be gained from the acquisitions made. Although a prognosis in this tense area is currently only possible with difficulty, Biella is counting on further improvement of its EBIT margin for 2014.
The Biella Group is one of the most important and most efficient European suppliers of office equipment. The Group has production sites in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, the United Kingdom and Romania, as well as logistics centres in Brügg/Biel, Wiener Neustadt, Cottbus and Enkhuizen (NL), not to mention its Europe-wide sales and marketing network. The Biella Group as a whole employs approximately 900 people.
Biella-Neher Holding Ltd is quoted on the Berne stock market BX Berne eXchange (symbol: BLLN, security: 151948S, ISIN: CH0001519484).
In case of any questions or requests please contact:
Biella-Neher Holding AG
Erlenstrasse 44, Postfach
Group Management Secretariat
Tel.: +41 32 366 3 404 or 251
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