The Mikron Group has had a significant increase in sales in the first half of 2016 and has a positive earnings before interest and tax (EBIT).

The automation business segment performed very well, whereas the machining business segment suffered from hesitant investment in the segments it serves within the automotive industry. The Mikron Group anticipates closing the 2016 financial year with considerably higher sales and an improved EBIT margin.

Operating conditions remained very demanding for the Mikron Group in the first half of 2016. While the strong Swiss franc continued to have a negative impact on the sites in Switzerland, the Mikron Group reported a higher order intake of CHF 124.7 million for the period (first half of 2015: CHF 118.3 million, +5%). This increase is due entirely to the Automation business segment, which benefited from its strong market position in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries.

Buoyed by continuing solid growth, customers in this market segment invested in automation systems. However, customers in the Mikron Machining’s key market segment the automotive industry were very reluctant to invest. Consequently, the Machining business segment recorded fewer orders than expected, especially from the German market.

Mikron Machining did witness an encouraging volume of orders from customers in the electronics industry. Reporting sales of CHF 127.0 million, the Mikron Group achieved a sizable year-on-year increase (first half of 2015: CHF 107.8 million, +18%). Both business segments lifted sales, but the increase at Mikron Automation was considerably more pronounced than at Mikron Machining. The Automation business segment’s result reflects the healthy order backlog at the beginning of the year and the gratifying level of new orders. These two key indicators were considerably weaker at Mikron Machining, leading to underutilised production capacity on certain product lines.

In the first half of 2016, the Mikron Group generated EBIT of CHF 1.3 million, exceeding the year-back figure (CHF -2.7 million), which had been significantly impacted by the strengthened Swiss franc. Whereas the Automation business segment saw a further improvement in profitability, the Machining business segment fell short.

Outlook Sales and EBIT were generally as expected. In terms of the final six months of 2016, the Mikron Group is projecting continued lively demand for automation systems from the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries, as well as from the consumer goods segment. Demand from the automotive industry remains highly uncertain.

By contrast, the inquiries received from the writing instruments and electronics industries constitute a positive development. The Mikron Group is expecting demand in the service and spare-parts business to be stable and is looking ahead to further growth in the tool business.

It is not clear yet how the UK’s decision to leave the EU and political developments in Turkey will impact on the Mikron Group’s profitability.

Key figures for the Mikron Group in the first half year 2016:
-CHF million, except number of employees and equity ratio 1.1.-30.6.16 1.1.-30.6.15 +/-
-Order intake 124.7 118.3 5.4%, Machining 56.8 62.5 -9.1%, Automation 68.1 56.1 21.4%
-Net sales 127.0 107.8 17.8%, Machining 59.2 52.7 12.3%, Automation 68.0 55.1 23.4%
-Order backlog 139.5 124.1 12.4%, Machining 40.6 54.1 -25.0%, Automation 98.9 69.9 41.5%
-EBIT 1.3 -2.7 n/a
-Profit/Loss for the year 0.4 -3.9 n/a
-Operating cash flow 8.7 -2.4 n/a 30.6.16 30.6.15 +/-
-Number of employees 1,222 1,172 4.3%, Machining 606 577 5.0%, Automation 595 575 3.5% 30.6.16 31.12.15 +/-
-Balance sheet total 248.5 243.9 1.9%
-Equity ratio 62.0% 63.4% -1.4%
-Publication of semiannual results for 2016

The semiannual results will be published at the same time as this media release in the form of the 2016 Semiannual Report.