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Favorable Currency Effects Keep ZEISS on Course

Technology enterprise ends first half of fiscal year 2014/15 with increase in revenue

  • Revenue rises to EUR 2.206 billion – EBIT reaches EUR 191 million 
  • Further delay in future-oriented EUV technology
  • ZEISS fails to reach its own ambitious goals 
  • Intensification of programs to sharpen competitiveness

OBERKOCHEN, 7 May 2015.

The ZEISS Group has concluded the first six months of fiscal year 2014/15 (ended 31 March) with a slight increase in revenue which rose by six percent (like-for-like*: one percent) over the previous year to EUR 2.206 billion (first six months of 2013/14: EUR 2.074 billion). At EUR 191 million, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) are more than EUR 25 million above the previous year. Adjusted for special effects such as currency influences, EBIT lies approximately ten million euros (minus six percent) below last year's figure (first six months of 2013/14: EUR 166 million).

"The favorable currency influences gave us additional momentum. However, if we use the same exchange rates as last year, we have not reached our own ambitious goals," says Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss AG, putting the good figures for the first half of 2014/15 into perspective.


Different developments in the business groups

In the business with semiconductor manufacturing technology, ZEISS is reporting a decline in revenue due to the cyclical downturn in demand on the semiconductor market. In total, this decrease is offset by the solid trend in the direct business transacted by ZEISS. This includes the business with measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, vision care and consumer optics.


Revenue (in EUR million)

  1st half of 2014/15 Change Change (like for like*)
Industrial Metrology
301 +11% +5%
Microscopy 343 +9% +3%
Medical Technology
(not identical to Carl Zeiss Meditec AG)
573 +12% +4%
Vision Care 403 +5% -1%
Consumer Optics
86 +2% -1%
Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology
481 -4% -5%

* Adjusted for special effects such as currency influences 

"To safeguard our leading position despite increasing competitive pressure, we must step up the pace of our organic growth and considerably improve our cost position," says Kaschke, assessing the earnings trend reported by the business groups. "Following its recent implementation in the Vision Care business group, we will intensify or initiate the Compete competitiveness improvement programs in large areas of the company." In addition, targeted acquisitions are currently being assessed.


Financial highlights of the ZEISS Group

ZEISS generates just under 90 percent of its revenue outside Germany, most of which is focused on the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa). In the first half of 2014/15 revenue in this area totaled EUR 739 million – two percent more than last year (EUR 711 million) on a like-for-like basis. In Germany revenue amounted to EUR 268 million, almost five percent above the previous year's figure (EUR 256 million).

Expenditure on research and development in the first half totaled EUR 221 million, around five percent more than in the comparable period last year (first six months of 2013/14: EUR 211 million). This figure includes the investments in EUV lithography, the future-oriented technology for the production of microchips.

During the reporting period ZEISS invested EUR 58 million in property, plant and equipment, nine million less than the prior year (first six months of 2013/14: EUR 67 million). These investments compare to depreciations totaling EUR 74 million (first six months of 2013/14: EUR 71 million).

On 31 March 2015 net liquidity amounted to EUR 288 million, over 100 million more than the figure posted at the end of fiscal year 2013/14 (30 September 2014: EUR 187 million).

Free cash flow totaled EUR 165 million (first six months of 2013/14: EUR 101 million). At EUR 1.092 billion, the company's equity decreased by around 13 percent over the year-end figure for fiscal 2013/14 (30 September 2014: EUR 1.249 billion). "The drop in equity and the decrease in the equity ratio to 20 percent – despite the almost three-digit figure reported for consolidated earnings – is the direct result of the disproportionately large increase in pension provisions due to the continuing low level of interest rates," says Chief Financial Officer Thomas Spitzenpfeil.



On 31 March 2015 ZEISS had a global workforce of 25,287 people, roughly two percent more than last year (31 March 2014: 24,791). This increase is solely attributable to short-term recruitment in the Vision Care business group in order to meet the increase in demand for eyeglass lenses in some markets. Headcount in all other areas of the company is showing a stable or slightly downward trend.


Outlook: Overall stable development in fiscal year 2014/15

"ZEISS is a technology leader in many sectors and makes major investments in research and development. We have ambitious goals and aim to further expand this leading position," Kaschke emphasizes. "With our current growth momentum we will not achieve these goals. This is partly attributable to the delayed introduction of the future-oriented EUV technology for the mass production of microchips. ZEISS operates in future-oriented, dynamic markets. A high degree of agility is needed to leverage the potential that they offer," Kaschke stresses. "Here we must become even more dynamic and flexible. This also means that we must substantially improve our cost structures, productivity and efficiency in all areas of the company."

For the second half of fiscal year 2014/15, ZEISS expects moderate growth in the global economy with regional variations. "For the current fiscal year – assuming no change in the currency scenario – we expect a stable development in revenue and a slightly downward development in the EBIT margin. This underscores the need for the measures and projects that have now been initiated," says Kaschke.


Press contact
Jörg Nitschke, Press Spokesman
Phone +49 (0)7364 20-3242
joerg .nitschke @zeiss .com

ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the optics and optoelectronics industries. ZEISS develops and distributes lithography optics, measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, eyeglass lenses, camera and cine lenses, binoculars and planetarium technology. With its solutions, the company constantly advances the world of optics and helps shape technological progress. The company is divided up into the six business groups Industrial Metrology, Microscopy, Medical Technology, Vision Care, Consumer Optics and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. ZEISS is represented in over 40 countries – with around 30 production sites, over 50 sales and service locations and about 25 research and development facilities. In fiscal year 2013/14 the company generated revenue approximating 4.3 billion euros with just under 25,000 employees. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Carl Zeiss AG is the strategic management holding company that manages the ZEISS Group. The company is wholly owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).

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