Rath Group: Report on the 1st Quater 2014
On a global level, stronger growth is expected for 2014, notably supported by developed countries. By extension, the industrial sector’s increased willingness to invest will positively affect the Rath Group’s business. There is also the impact of economic development in the USA, which, having overcome the fiscal cliff at the end of 2013, has now returned to a path of sustainable growth and is an important sales market for the Rath Group. In the first quarter of 2014, the Rath Group recorded sales of EUR 17,268 million – 3 % below the predetermined quarterly budget of EUR 17,800 million and 5 % below the previous year’s figure (EUR 18,141 million). As a result of the Group-wide optimization scheme launched last year, the cost structure could be sustainably improved. An EBIT of EUR 185000 (budget EUR 157000) was therefore recorded in the first quarter of 2014, equating to a year-on-year improvement of EUR 72000 (previous year: EUR –43000). As already outlined in the Annual Financial Report, the Rath Group will consistently place its business focus in 2014 on boosting profitability – true to the overriding strategic target ‘margin over volume’. Despite low gross revenues, the operating cash flow as at 31 March 2014 improved by EUR 866000 to EUR 275000. In the first quarter, the number of employees sank from 611 as at 31 December 2013 to 557 as at 31 March 2014. This equates to an 11 % reduction on the same quarter in the previous year, which can be attributed to the closure of our castables plant in Wirges, Germany, as well as to specific personnel-related optimizations. The increasing level of order receipts in recent weeks indicates that the economy and, above all, its core region of Europe are experiencing slight upturn, and that the Rath Group is correctly positioned in terms of quality and service. The Rath Group started the new 2014 financial year with a solid first quarter. Its segmentation by region in the field of sales provides good customer proximity. The continual and consistent implementation of the Group-wide optimization scheme will continue to positively affect the cost structure. Initial successes have also been recorded as a result of the offensive launched in the field of product developments. Based on the current utilization of our production plants and the number of increasing customer inquiries and contract conclusions, the Group expects to record a satisfactory second quarter.