HELLER 2014: positive trend continues
As expected, 2014 was a year of two very different halves. Development during the first six months was below average. The pickup noted in the second half of the year exceeded our forecasts in terms of both business volume and results. The 2014 order intake is also above plan with a correspondingly positive impact on the current financial year.
Order intake: strong increase
The increase in order intake noted by the German machine tool industry continued throughout 2014. On an annual basis, this resulted in 4% growth. In 2014, HELLER recorded a 35% increase in orders received to a total volume of EUR 558.1m, resulting in the second highest order inflow in the history of the HELLER Group.
In particular, project business with automotive customers contributed to growth with an increase of approx. 60% on the previous year, so that we were able to exceed our forecasts for 2014.
Origin of orders: Germany and the rest of Europe as main drivers
The most substantial changes in the geographical distribution of order intake in 2014 were noted in overseas markets. Germany continues to hold the lion share, followed by the rest of Europe with 69% (previous year 66%) due to strong domestic automotive project business. At 23%, North and South America are above the previous year (15%). Here again, project business developed above average. Due to the development in China, Asia’s growth has slowed down significantly to 8% compared to the previous year (19%).
Turnover: strong second half-year
At EUR 434.4m, the turnover achieved by HELLER in 2014 was approx. EUR 98.3m below that of the previous year. As expected, development of sales split the year 2014 into two distinct halves. Due to the fact that order intake picked up strongly in the second half of 2013, and considering the usual lead times until revenue recognition, especially in project business, we had already anticipated that the weaker first six months of 2014 would be followed by a significantly stronger second half of the year. As a result, 62% of group sales were realised during the second six months of the year.
Capital resources: overall above average
Increase in inventories and capitalised services included, the total operating revenue amounted to EUR 462.5m, which is above average in multi-year comparison. The result from ordinary business activities significantly decreased year-on-year due to the heterogeneous business development throughout the year.
However, the strong second half-year was not able to fully offset the shortfall in the first six months. The group's equity capital increased to EUR 108.8m, resulting in a strong equity ratio of 34.5% by the end of the year.
Investments and developments: at the previous year's level
The total investment volume in 2014 reached EUR 8.1m. The majority of this was invested in machinery, plant, operating and business equipment. New product development and product refinement as well as the enhancement of our machine series remained focal points in 2014. With a total of EUR 13.5m, expenditure in this area was approximately at the previous year's level.
Product range: comprehensive development programme contributes to success
In 2014, the focus remained on the expansion and modernisation of our product range, enabling us to better serve our existing customers and to expand business into new target customer groups and industries, attracted by the traditional strengths of HELLER such as productivity, reliability and availability. At the same time, we continued working on the expansion and intensification of our regional business.
Our current product spectrum of 4-axis and 5-axis machining centres and mill/turning centres enables machining of components of up to 10t in weight and 1,800mm in height at high productivity and process dependability. The newly added large machining centres are ideally suited for the machining of large pumps and housings for power generating and continuous-flow machinery. Other areas of application are general mechanical engineering, the oil and gas industry or aerospace.
In terms of its turnkey competence in crankcase manufacturing systems, HELLER for some time has been offering systems for the coating of cylinder bores on the basis of a twin-wire arc spraying technology. The process named HELLER CBC (CylinderBoreCoating) is a new addition to the crankcase manufacturing process chain.
This process technology helped us to gain numerous manufacturing projects again in 2014 in different countries, including Germany, France and Japan.
In November 2014, the coating process received an award from US trade journal R&D Magazine, naming it one of the 100 most important high-tech products. For this technology, HELLER and Daimler also received the R&D 100 Award, also known as the Oscar of Invention.