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Villeroy & Boch in the 2015 financial year: All goals achieved without exception

Press Release   •   Feb 11, 2016 11:29 GMT

Consolidated revenue up 4.9 %

In the 2015 financial year, the Villeroy & Boch Group increased its revenue by 4.9 % or € 37.5 million to € 803.8 million, thereby recording its strongest revenue growth since the economic crisis in 2009. On a constant currency basis, i.e. assuming unchanged exchange rates against the previous year, revenue growth amounted to 4.1 %.

As in the previous years, the Group enjoyed robust revenue development in its home market of Germany, where revenue rose by € 9.0 million or 4.1 % year-on-year to € 227.8 million. In the other markets of Western Europe, the Group recorded revenue growth in Norway (+8.9 %), Spain (+7.0 %) and Sweden (+5.1 %) in particular. Driven by the strength of the pound sterling, growth in the United Kingdom amounted to +14.6 %. Revenue declined in France (-5.8 %) and Italy (-3.7 %), where the economy saw below-average performance in 2015 as a whole despite a slight upturn in the second half of the year. Revenue in Eastern Europe increased by 8.1 % to € 74.6 million, with Hungary (+59.4 %) and Romania (+24.0 %) the stand-out performers. Villeroy & Boch saw a largely currency-related downturn in revenue in Russia (-8.4 %). In the Asia/Australia/Africa region, revenue grew by 9.2 % thanks to strong project business, among other things. This was primarily driven by the positive development in China, the largest and most important market in the region (+22.3 %).

Operating result up 9.6 % on the previous year, non-recurring income from real estate project in Sweden: € 1.4 million

The operating result (EBIT) increased by 9.6 % to € 42.1 million in the 2015 financial year. This was largely due to the Group's pronounced revenue growth and the improvement in its revenue quality thanks to rising sales of higher-priced product groups with strong margins. Productivity improvements at the plants and reduced energy and commodity prices also had a positive impact. These effects are reflected in the gross margin, which increased by 0.3 percentage points year-on-year to 44.9 %.

Taking into account the non-recurring income of € 1.4 million from the sale of plant buildings in Gustavsberg (Sweden), consolidated EBIT amounted to € 43.5 million. This represents a slight increase on the prior-year figure of € 43.2 million even though non-recurring income was € 3.4 million lower than in 2014, a fact that underlines the strong improvement in the Group's operating performance. The Group result rose by 12.3 % to € 27.3 million.

Development in the divisions

The Bathroom and Wellness Division increased its nominal revenue by 5.9 % to € 496.9 million in the 2015 financial year. On a constant currency basis, divisional revenue rose by 6.9 %. In Germany, the market with the highest revenue, the division outperformed the average growth rate within the sector as well as the construction industry with revenue growth of 6.9 %. In Western Europe, the division recorded revenue growth in the United Kingdom (+21.5 %) and the Netherlands (+9.3 %) in particular. The upturn in revenue in Western Europe was due among other things to strong bathroom furniture business and the high level of demand for DirectFlush WCs. In Eastern Europe, the highest revenue growth was recorded in Hungary (+21.7 %), Romania (+19.0 %) and Poland (+12.9 %). Continued restraint in the construction industry meant that revenue declined in both France (-5.7 %) and Italy (-5.4 %). In Russia, the difficult economic and political conditions and the massive depreciation of the rouble meant that revenue stagnated compared with the previous year (-0.5%); however, the division recorded significant revenue growth of 33.7 % in local currency. Business in China enjoyed extremely strong performance (+22.4 %) on the back of the highly successful launch of the ViClean shower toilet collection in the final quarter.

The operating result (EBIT) increased by 12.7 % to € 32.8 million as a result of higher revenue with stronger margins, productivity improvements in production, reduced energy and commodity prices and systematic cost management in the area of administration.

The Tableware Division increased its revenue by a nominal 3.3 % to € 306.9 million. On a constant currency basis, revenue was essentially unchanged as against the previous year (-0.4 %). The division enjoyed extremely positive performance across all sales markets in terms of its project business with hotels and restaurants (+6.7 %) and its own e-commerce activities (+30.5 %). Tableware revenue in Germany remained largely stable at € 87.4 million (-0.1 %). In Western Europe, the strongest revenue growth was recorded in Norway (+17.6 %) and the United Kingdom (+4.6 %). Economic factors led to a downturn in revenue in France (-5.8 %) and Italy (-3.0 %) in particular. In Eastern Europe, significant revenue growth was recorded in Poland (+13.3 %), among other markets. Revenue in the region as a whole rose by 10.1 % to € 17.5 million. Outside Europe, positive revenue development was recorded in South Korea (+43.6 %), Japan (+22.9 %), China (+21.7 %) and the Americas region (+21.6 %) in particular. In Russia, revenue declined by 39.4 % as a result of the massive depreciation of the rouble and muted consumer behaviour.

The Tableware Division saw stable year-on-year development with EBIT of € 9.3 million. The downturn in revenue in Villeroy & Boch's high-margin Russian market was offset by growth in project business, e-commerce and secondary brands as well as strict cost discipline in sales, marketing and administrative structures.

Orders on hand, operating cash flow and net liquidity

Orders on hand increased by € 11.9 million year-on-year to € 63.3 million as of 31 December 2015. Of this figure, € 50.9 million related to the Bathroom and Wellness Division and € 12.4 million to the Tableware Division.

Net cash flow from operating activities amounted to € 34.1 million, down € 16.8 million on the previous year. This was attributable primarily to the increase in inventories compared with the previous year, particularly for the Bathroom and Wellness growth markets, as well as the higher level of trade receivables due to revenue development. Net liquidity amounted to € 15.0 million, down slightly on the prior-year figure of € 15.8 million. Cash inflows from the improved Group result and the sale of the former plant property in Sweden offset the financing requirements in connection with the increased inventories.

Dividend

The Management Board and the Supervisory Board will propose to the General Meeting of Shareholders on 1 April 2016 that the unappropriated surplus of Villeroy & Boch AG be used to distribute a dividend in the amount of € 0.49 per preference share and € 0.44 per ordinary share, € 0.05 more than in the previous year in each case.

Investments

Investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets amounted to € 29.1 million in the 2015 financial year. Around 75 % of investments were made in the Bathroom and Wellness Division, with a focus on the optimisation of the production network. Investments in the Tableware Division concentrated on the expansion and optimisation of the sales network. The higher prior-year figure of € 44.6 million was due in particular to investments in the new assembly and logistics centre in Sweden and the new combined heat and power plant at the Mettlach site.

Assessment of the company’s position

“We are extremely satisfied with the past financial year. We achieved all of our goals without exception: our revenue growth represents our best performance since the economic crisis in 2009, while we improved our operating result once again. Villeroy & Boch stands for reliable positive development that we intend to continue in the coming years,” commented Frank Göring, CEO of Villeroy & Boch AG.

Despite uncertainties in the emerging economies, the company expects the global economy to enjoy a slight upturn in 2016 compared with the previous year thanks to the positive outlook for the euro zone. To this end, the International Monetary Fund is forecasting global economic growth of 3.4% (2015: 3.1%). “Our aim is to increase consolidated revenue by between 3 % and 6 % in 2016,” added Göring. “We are anticipating growth in our operating result of between 5 % and 10 %.”

Villeroy & Boch in the 2015 financial year – consolidated figures in accordance with IFRS

THE GROUP AT A GLANCE1/1/2015 - 31/12/2015in € million1/1/2014 - 31/12/2014in € millionChange in € millionChange in %
Revenue (nominal)803.8766.337.54.9
Revenue – Germany227.8218.89.04.1
Revenue – Abroad576.0547.528.55.2
EBIT (operating) before real estate project in Sweden42.138.43.79.6
EBIT incl. real estate project in Sweden43.543.20.30.7
EBT(earnings before taxes)37.934.93.08.6
Group result27.324.33.012.3
Operating cash flow34.150.9-16.8-33.0
Investments29.144.6-15.5-34.8
Return on net operating assets (rolling)13.6 %13.0 %0.6 PP4.6
EBIT margin (operating) 5.2 %5.0 %0.2 PP4.0
Return on equity (operating) 15.7 %13.5 %2.2 PP16.3
Dividend per preference share€ 0.49€ 0.44€ 0.05 11.4
Dividend per ordinary share€ 0.44€ 0.39€ 0.0512.8

Villeroy & Boch:

Villeroy & Boch is one of the world's leading premium brands for ceramic products. The family business, which was founded in 1748 and is headquartered in Mettlach/Germany, stands for innovation, tradition and exceptional style. As a renowned lifestyle brand, Villeroy & Boch offers products from the sectors Bathroom and Wellness and Tableware, and is active in 125 countries.