The BWT Group again surpassed the €500 million revenues threshold in 2014. The Group’s consolidated revenues decreased by €2.4 million (-0.5%), from €507.7 million to €505.3 million, due to the disposal of companies and business segments.
With a comparable Group structure, revenues were up 4.8% on the previous year. Growth in revenues was mainly attributable to the E1 single-lever filter, the successful “pearl water strategy”, the heating protection range “AQA therm” and the continued strong growth rates posted by the Point of Use business.
Despite further increased advertising expenditure related to the development of the “BWT” brand and the extensive measures intended to develop and expand the Point of Use business segment in 2014, EBIT improved by 11.5% year on year, from €23.1 million to €25.8 million. The Group’s consolidated earnings after taxes declined slightly from €10.8 million to €10.5 million (-2.7%) on account of a lower financial result and a higher tax rate. Operating cash flow increased by 25.4% to €39.5 million.
The balance sheet structure remains solid with a low debt leverage and a high level of capital. Gearing (the net debt to equity ratio) was driven down from 16.2% to 8.7% thanks to the positive cash flow. Group equity decreased by 1.0% from €172.6 million to €170.9 million. Actuarial calculations of social capital pursuant to IAS 19 had a particularly negative impact in this regard. The changed actuarial discount rates on account of the market situation impaired equity by €6.8 million. This amount was deducted directly from equity, as required under IFRS provisions. The equity ratio was also driven down from 47.9% to 41.9% by the higher consolidated balance sheet total (resulting from the uptake of a promissory note loan).
The BWT Group’s employee headcount based on full-time equivalents went down slightly year on year from 2,643 employees to 2,587 employees. This was due primarily to company disposals that were made. The Management Board will submit a proposal for a dividend payment of €0.10 per share at the next Annual General Meeting.
The BWT Group’s extensive programme of investment, which was started in 2011 and included the construction of new plants in Mondsee, Austria, and Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany, was completed in the 2014 financial year. The expected increases in revenues and margins will be reinvested in higher advertising and development budgets for the development of the “BWT” brand with the brand message “For You and Planet Blue”. For this reason, only moderate improvements in earnings are expected Group-wide.
In January 2015, a framework agreement was signed on the acquisition by BWT of a majority interest in the Mettem Technologies Group, Russia. CEO Andreas Weißenbacher says: “We will use our participation in Mettem Technologies to proceed with the internationalisation of the BWT Group. BWT-Barrier’s activities will open up new market opportunities for us and our unique BWT magnesium technology, especially in the promising Asian markets and in the Point of Use business.”