Pfeiffer Vacuum bucks the weak economy, holds its own in a difficult environment
Asslar, Germany, November 6, 2001. With its latest financial numbers, Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology AG, a leading manufacturer of vacuum pumps and components, again demonstrated its profitability, in spite of the difficult economic environment.
Positive development in Germany, Europe and Asia all but offsets weak
The sustained sluggishness of the semiconductor industry and the general
weakness of the American economy have led to sharp shortfalls in sales in the
United States. During the first 9 months, U.S. sales declined from € 46.5 million
in 2000 to € 35.9 million in 2001. Encouragingly, during the same period sales in
Germany advanced from € 30.4 million to € 34.9 million and in Asia and the rest
of the world from € 13 million to € 16 million, especially in the market segments
of vacuum coating and analytical applications.
The negative development of new orders, first and foremost in the United States,
was heightened by the events of September 11. There would appear to be a
significant variance in the comparison figures relative to the 3rd quarter of the
previous year; however this needs to be put into perspective, as there had been
an extremely high level of new orders during the 3rd quarter of 2000 due to the
boom the semiconductor industry was experiencing during that period. By
comparison with the first 9 months of 1999, new orders in fact rose by 17 %
during the first 9 months of 2001.
Profitability again demonstrated
Strict cost management and the institution of further efficiency-enhancing
measures at the new production facility produced an EBIT margin of nearly 18
%; in spite of the decline in sales, this is only around 1 % lower than the margin
during the comparable prior-year period. Thanks to a more favorable tax rate,
after-tax income rose by a strong 10.8 % year to year. With an 11 % return on
sales, the company is one of the most profitable on the Neuer Markt Stock
Ready for the future
The company is putting a major effort into developing new products. During the
period under review, R&D expenditures rose by 6.9 % year to year, from € 5.8
million to € 6.2 million. In the analytical industry, further customers were able to
be won for the successfully launched Splitflow turbomolecular pump. Additional
business was also generated in Service, which has traditionally offered good
prospects during times of economic weakness. Customer intimacy is assured by
a close-knit sales and service network.
As already reported, the company anticipates sales for the full fiscal year to lag
some 8 - 10 % behind the level posted in record year 2000. At Headquarters,
flexible human resources measures, like the termination of employment
contracts for temporaries and the reduction of overtime work, are being used to
adjust capacities to reflect current needs. At the same time, sales and marketing
activities have been strengthened, e.g. through the recruitment of qualified sales
engineers and marketing specialists for the semiconductor and analytical
industries in order to be ready for the future.
Share prices hold their own in a difficult stock market environment
Thanks to the company’s strong financial position, Pfeiffer Vacuum shares –
traded at the NYSE and the German Neuer Markt - did well during the current
fiscal year’s difficult stock market environment. While the Nemax 50 suffered
dramatic setbacks this year (from 2,642 to less than 700 points at times), the
price of Pfeiffer shares declined only from € 45 to € 24, and presently stands at
€ 34 again.
Source: Pfeiffer Vacuum GmbH