In the past 2015/16 fiscal year (ended 30 September 2016) the ZEISS Group increased both its revenue and earnings, achieving record levels: revenue rose to €4.881 billion (prior year: €4.511 billion). This corresponds to a sharp increase of eight percent. At €615 million, EBIT was significantly above last year’s figure (€369 million). The EBIT margin was at 13 percent. For the first time, incoming orders exceeded the 5 billion euro mark.
Fiscal year 2015/16 is the most successful year to date for the ZEISS Group: “The programs we have launched to increase our competitiveness are now truly coming to fruition. Our entire portfolio is contributing to the healthy earnings. Increases were reported in all our fields of business,” says Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss AG. “We are growing – despite the modest trend in the semiconductor market and slowing momentum in emerging markets.”
Positive development across all segments
|Revenue (in € million)|
|Research & Quality Technology||1,466||1,356||+8%|
|Vision Care/Consumer Products||1,089||1,007||+8%|
|Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology||972||893||+9%|
In the Research & Quality Technology segment, the Industrial Metrology business group is particularly benefiting from the strong automotive market and from its Smart Production solutions. The Microscopy business group has achieved a turnaround and is back on track to growth. The Medical Technology segment is holding its ground on the hotly contested health care market and is continuing to expand its leading position. The Vision Care/Consumer Products segment is generating strong growth thanks to the successful new product launches.
Although no sustainable upturn was yet discernible on the semiconductor market in fiscal year 2015/16, the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SMT) segment, with its solid business in deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography systems, continues to grow. Further positive impetus was provided for future-oriented extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. A major step for the advancement of this technology was taken by expanding the partnership with Dutch company ASML. The world’s leading equipment provider for the entire chip industry will acquire a 24.9% minority stake in the subsidiary Carl Zeiss SMT for the purchase price of one billion euros. Furthermore, ASML will invest approximately €760 million directly in research and development and in plant and other equipment at Carl Zeiss SMT.
“The good figures clearly demonstrate that we are very well-positioned in the key growth markets with our broad portfolio and are meeting our customers’ needs around the world. We have successfully implemented our Agenda 2016 and are now a much more modern, global and dynamic enterprise,” says Kaschke. “We will continue to pursue this approach and evolve it in order to further bolster our economic growth trajectory and our aspiration to technological leadership in optics and optoelectronics.”
ZEISS generates just under 90 percent of its business outside Germany. In fiscal year 2015/16 ZEISS was particularly successful in the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region with revenue totaling €1.123 billion. This corresponds to an increase of 17 percent over the prior year (€953 million) after currency adjustments. Revenue amounted to €504 million in China alone (prior year: €390 million). With its direct business in emerging markets, ZEISS has boosted its growth globally by 16 percent to €995 million (prior year: €883 million) after currency adjustments.
In fiscal year 2015/16 total expenditure on research and development activities remained at the high level of the prior year. After taking into account subsidies and financing from third parties, the research and development expenses recognized in the income statement came to €436 million (prior year: €466 million).
ZEISS invested a total of €154 million in property, plant and equipment during fiscal year 2015/16 (prior year: €160 million). This compared to depreciations totaling €155 million (prior year: €150 million). On the reporting date, net liquidity totaled €568 million (30 September 2015: €374 million). “Overall, the company’s financial position continues to be extremely solid and our financial leeway for the Group is accordingly high. We are therefore focusing sharply on how we can strategically supplement our portfolio with additional investments and acquisitions,” announced Thomas Spitzenpfeil, Chief Financial Officer of Carl Zeiss AG. Free cash flow increased substantially to €709 million (prior year: €477 million). The company’s equity amounted to €1,416 million, equating to an unchanged equity ratio of 25 percent.
The number of employees increased by two percent. On the reporting date, ZEISS had 25,433 employees worldwide (prior year: 24,946). The strongest growth was posted for the APAC region, where there are more than 560 new recruits. In this region, the number of employees has risen to 4,788 (prior year: 4,227).
Outlook: “On course for further growth”
Forecasts for fiscal year 2016/17 anticipate moderate global growth. The growth dynamic will see a slight slowdown in some emerging markets, while from a global perspective these markets will continue to experience significant growth. Even though certain developments, such as increasing protectionism, give cause for concern, ZEISS nevertheless maintains a positive outlook: “We shall remain on course for further growth in order to achieve our objectives. We will be successful because our portfolio is well balanced and because we shall continue to pursue Agenda 2020 and its programs for increased competitiveness,” says Kaschke. “In 2016/17 we expect to see a slight revenue increase and a comparable EBIT margin overall.”
Innovation stimulus in growth markets
“In close collaboration with our customers, we are evolving into a highly sought-after provider of solutions that address the key issues of the future. In many business groups, our skilled and highly motivated employees are actively shaping global megatrends in the areas of digitalization, Smart Production and health care,” says Kaschke explaining his expectations for growth.