In fact, in some areas, we even exceeded them,” explained Prof. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the Board of Management, at the annual results press conference in Mainz. Sales rose by 19% to 2.233 billion euros, while earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) even increased by 34% to 193 million euros and annual net profit climbed to 105 million euros.
For its fiscal year 2006/2007, the international technology group expects business to continue to develop positively. The company intends to focus on achieving organic growth and improving its earnings power. “We are realistic enough to know that, particularly due to stronger globalization inside our markets, it will not be easy for us to continue achieving the exceptional growth rates we’ve been experiencing in recent years,” explained Professor Ungeheuer. Nevertheless, revenue will grow in areas like pharmaceutical packaging, electronic packaging and solar technology. SCHOTT also expects its glass-ceramic for household appliances business, traditional optics and refined flat glass activities to remain stabile.
To further expand its position as one of the leading technology groups in the area of specialized glass and other high-tech materials, SCHOTT intends to maintain its high level of investment spending. For the current fiscal year, 300 million euros have been earmarked for investment in fixed assets, 185 million of which will be spent at sites in Germany. As a result, total investment spending has now risen to a level of 850 million euros since 2005 alone. Current major projects include the construction of a manufacturing facility for thin-film solar electricity modules in Jena, as well as a new manufacturing plant for solar receivers in Spain.
SCHOTT will also be looking to fully leverage the potential that high growth markets in Asia and Eastern Europe have to offer. The strategy entitled “Mission Asia” is rapidly gaining in momentum. During the 2005/2006 fiscal year, sales in this region already increased by 25% to reach 430 million euros. This accounted for 19% of total group sales. By building a processing plant for display glass substrates that was inaugurated in South Korea in February of 2007, but also a new manufacturing facility for pharmaceutical packaging that is now being built in China, SCHOTT is seeking to move much closer towards achieving its goal of generating 30% of total sales in Asia by the year 2010. Furthermore, new sales offices were opened in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Malaysia and Vietnam in order to strengthen the company’s presence in important future markets. The technology group has also identified solid growth prospects in Eastern Europe, where SCHOTT operates 5 manufacturing sites and 11 sales offices. In the spring of 2007, the existing manufacturing base will be extended to include a production facility in Russia.
For its current fiscal year, SCHOTT also expects to reap considerable momentum from a number of strategic future ventures. Here, solar technology will be the main focus of attention. “Generating power with the help of the sun offers the greatest degree of technologically applicable potential of all types of renewable energy and SCHOTT is the only company that offers products and solutions for use in nearly all types of solar technologies,” Professor Ungeheuer said. He sees excellent prospects, particularly in the area of solar thermal power plants, such as the ones now being built in Nevada and Andalusia. SCHOTT is supplying several tens of thousands of receivers for both facilities that represent the key component of this technology. To remain capable of supplying these products for use in other major projects, SCHOTT expanded its receiver manufacturing considerably in Mitterteich, Bavaria, last year and is currently building yet another plant in Spain at a cost of 22 million euros. In the area of Photovoltaics, the company is increasingly relying on thin-film technology. A manufacturing facility for ASI® thin-film modules is currently being built in Jena at a cost of 60 million euros. Here, amorphous silicon will be applied in such thin layers that the resulting film will appear to be transparent. Thin-film modules can then be integrated into window, roof and facade glazing applications to combine attractive architectural solutions with environmentally friendly electrical power generation.
Fiscal year 2005/2006: sales and results improve significantly
The events and results of the fiscal year 2005/2006 confirm that the modernization process introduced three years ago is taking hold. In addition to sales and net profit, a number of other significant financial indicators show improvements. Cash flow from continuous business activities increased to 354 million euros (+ 40%). The equity-to-assets ratio of 29% following conversion to IFRS can also be considered to be quite satisfactory. “Our solid financial structure provides us with the support we need in order to continue to pursue our growth path at full strength,” Professor Ungeheuer explained at the annual results press conference. The number of employees remained constant at 16,800, effective 09/30/2006.