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Walter Meier hails half-year results

Climate and manufacturing technology group Walter Meier has increased net sales year on year by 9.3 per cent to CHF 346.9 million in the first half of 2012.

Excluding exchange and consolidation effects, this resulted in organic net sales growth of 1 per cent. Headlines from the firm’s results included:

  • Increase in net sales of 9.3 percent to CHF 346.9 million;
  • Organic growth in net sales of 1 per cent;
  • At 8 per cent, EBIT margin slightly lower than previous year (8.3 per cent);
  • Net income totaled CHF 23.0 million (previous year CHF 19.8 million).

While the international group divisions Humidification & Evaporative Cooling and Tools reported increased net sales compared with the first half of 2011, the retail and service operations in the Climate and Machining Solutions divisions, which are mainly focused on Switzerland, suffered a drop in net sales.

The Tools division made the greatest contribution to the organic growth in net sales, accounting for around 16 per cent, thanks mainly to its sustained successes on the American market for construction and industrial equipment, the company said.

Humidification & Evaporative Cooling also enjoyed above-average growth, boosted by several acquisitions (most notably Port-A-Cool in the US). Excluding exchange and consolidation effects, however, the division posted a decline in net sales.

In the first six months of the year, Walter Meier achieved EBITDA of CHF 34.5 million, compared with CHF 33.8 million in the same period in the previous year.

EBIT increased in the first half of 2012 by CHF 1.5 million to CHF 27.8 million. The EBIT margin fell slightly, ending the period at 8.0 per cent (previous year 8.3 per cent).

Net income for the period amounted to CHF 23.0 million, compared with CHF 19.8 million in the same period in the previous year. This was primarily a consequence of the increase in operating earnings.

Furthermore, the tax rate is around 5 percentage points lower than in the same period in the previous year. The company’s profit per share increased from CHF 9.34 to CHF 10.91.

Cashflow from operating activities was slightly negative in the first half of the year, due chiefly to seasonal factors (peak season for the cooling business), and amounted to CHF –2.0 million (previous year CHF 15.5 million).

Coupled with the high outflow of funds for investing activities due to acquisitions, this resulted in the company reporting a free cashflow of CHF –60.7 million (previous year CHF 12.1 million).

At the mid-point of 2012, working capital is around CHF 50 million higher than at the end of 2011, chiefly as a consequence of the acquisition of Port-A-Cool.

Due primarily to the financing required for this acquisition and also because of profit payments, net liquidity is negative at CHF –72.2 million.

Equity came to CHF 165.6 million, which equates to a lower ratio of 39.0 per cent. The change in equity was dominated by the dividend payment and the buyback of treasury shares in conjunction with the issue of put options to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary.

Compared with year-end 2011, the number of employees increased by 309 to 1,936 (full-time equivalents).