In 2013, the SICK Group maintained its position in a challenging market environment and continued to grow. Sales increased by 3.9 percent year-on-year and topped the one-billion mark for the first time; EBIT increased by 6.8 percent – a great achievement in view of adverse currency effects and the investment bottleneck in important markets.
Even in difficult economic times, the SICK Group continues its steady growth. The sensor producer generated sales of EUR 1,009.5 million in the last fiscal year, which represents an increase of 3.9 percent. Orders received rose by 1.6 percent to EUR 1,010.6 million. “The North, Central and South America region in particular showed a positive trend. Moreover, our strategy to establish a presence in growth regions such as Asia, Brazil and Eastern Europe in good time has once again paid off,” said the Chairman of the Executive Board, Dr. Robert Bauer, at the presentation of the Group’s results on Tuesday. The business with environmental measurement technology in China and major logistics projects in the USA experienced substantial growth. At the same time, the weakness of the US dollar and the Japanese yen in particular as well as other currencies against the euro significantly curtailed global sales growth. The home market in Germany, where the SICK Group generates almost a quarter of its sales, did not provide any impetus for growth, either.
Disproportionately strong growth in profit
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) has improved on 2012 to a greater extent than sales: As a result of a strict cost management, it increased from EUR 82.7 million to EUR 88.3 million (+6.8 percent). The EBIT margin thus amounted to 8.7 percent. The net income of EUR 59.2 million exceeded the prior-year figure by 1.2 percent, which is mostly due to a higher tax rate. The net return on sales amounted to 5.9 percent.
Investments in employees and production technology
This positive sales trend also had an impact on the headcount. As of the end of the year, the headcount at the SICK Group was 6,597 – 295 employees more than in the previous year (+4.7 percent). Investments were made above all in research and development as well as sales and service staffing worldwide. In Germany, the headcount rose by 4.0 percent; employment abroad was increased by 5.7 percent. Staffing levels were increased especially in the North, Central and South America region, as a result of the acquisition of a distributor for SICK safety technology in Brazil. Moreover, SICK invested heavily in the construction of new production facilities in Germany: New production buildings were built at numerous German locations, and investments were made in new development and manufacturing technologies to enhance SICK‘s competitiveness and strengthen its position on the market. SICK also extended its portfolio by adding intelligent solutions in the form of products, systems, and services. SICK invested EUR 102.3 million in research and development; this is equivalent to 10.1 percent of sales revenue.
The company has optimistic expectations for this year: “I am confident that we will be able to increase our sales in the 2014 fiscal year by a higher rate, since we expect a recovery in demand, above all in Germany and other European countries, in particular in the second half of the year. We are well-prepared to seize the resulting market opportunities,” Dr. Robert Bauer says.