Lippstadt/Duesseldorf, 26 June 2013. HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co., one of the world's leading automotive suppliers, successfully continued its globalization strategy in a challenging environment in the past fiscal year 2012/2013. According to the preliminary financial results, HELLA's group turnover grew by about 4 per cent to 5.0 billion euro year on year (previously: 4.8 billion euro). This increase in turnover was driven particularly by the international growth markets in Asia and North America that contributed 20 per cent each. With incremental R&D expenses of about 1 per cent to 9 per cent of turnover and a more than 30 per cent increase of investments to about 430 million euro, HELLA generated operating earnings (EBIT) of about 280 million euro (previous year: 346 million euro).
Stronger presence in important growth markets
Success in the past fiscal year was driven particularly by the company's globalization strategy HELLA has been implementing consistently for years. Over the past years, HELLA has continually increased the international operations' contribution to turnover and is already now generating 47 per cent of its turnover outside of Europe. "Our strong international presence enables us to engage even better in partnerships with our clients globally", says Dr Jürgen Behrend, Chairman and President. "We are therefore very well prepared for the current market situation and can compensate margin pressure in Europe with high demand in the global growth markets."
Investments in research and development
Contributions to positive turnover growth came not only from the regions but also from all segments. As in the past, the successful development and marketing of innovative products have remained key growth drivers. Over the past year, these included the market launch of the next generation of full LED headlights, the successful rollout of innovative products for electronic steering and driver assistance systems with enhanced functionalities. "Innovation and technology leadership in our core businesses lighting and electronics for the automotive industry combined with our global network strategy are the engine that drive corporate development," says Dr Rolf Breidenbach, President and CEO.
In order to protect its technological leadership, HELLA again stepped up investments in research and development by about 1 per cent to approximately 9 per cent of group turnover in the past fiscal year. Today, more than 5,500 people work across the global research and development network. "We are currently in a position to develop tailored products for each market and customize them on site," says Dr Rolf Breidenbach, President and CEO. "We will continue to systematically build on these strengths."
Solid financing further strengthened
HELLA leveraged its operating success in fiscal year 2012/2013 to further optimize its solid, long-term oriented financial structure. As at 31 May 2013, its equity ratio amounted to 32 per cent. Available liquid assets have increased by roughly 40 per cent to about 690 million euro. By placing a seven-year corporate bond over 500 million euro in January 2013, HELLA gained additional scope for driving its corporate development.
Outlook: HELLA remains the global partner of the automotive industry
HELLA expects international markets to develop at different speeds over the long term. International markets have outpaced the stagnating European market and continue to grow strongly. HELLA responds to this situation by strategically enhancing its international network - and continuing to transform the group headquarters in Lippstadt into a center of excellence and a technology hub. From this foundation, HELLA again expects group-wide business activities to develop positively in fiscal year 2013/2014. In spite of another increase in turnover, however, the company does not expect earnings to increase year on year. This is due to higher expenses for structural enhancements and investments in the continued capacity build-out for research and development in Europe, Asia and America that will also be required over the next fiscal year. "The systematic build-out of Lippstadt into a leading research and development hub and a global technology center will be a particular priority," stress Dr Behrend and Dr Breidenbach. "At the same time, we will continue to expand our international network and make our corporate organization sustainable. More than ever, innovation and technology leadership that relies on HELLA's global network with its 30,000 employees at home and abroad is a prerequisite for a successful partnership with our clients."