Lippstadt, August 10, 2018.
The lighting and electronics specialist HELLA continued its profitable growth path in the fiscal year 2017/2018 (June 1, 2017, to May 31, 2018). Thus, the currency-adjusted consolidated sales rose to 9.3 percent. Reported sales rose by 7.2 percent to € 7.1 billion (prior year: € 6.6 billion). At the same time, the company became more profitable. The adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (adjusted EBIT) increased by 8.8 percent to € 581 million (prior year: € 534 million), making the adjusted EBIT margin 8.2 percent (prior year: 8.1 percent). Taking special effects into account, the reported earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by 13.2 percent to € 574 million (prior year: € 507 million), with the reported EBIT margin increasing to 8.1 percent (prior year: 7.7 percent). Moreover, the adjusted free cash flow from operating activities improved significantly compared to the previous year, rising by 62 percent to € 241 million (prior year: € 149 million).
"In this past fiscal year, we have demonstrated our commitment to continuity and reliability. We have enjoyed significantly stronger growth than the automotive market and further increased our profitability despite the challenging industry environment", explains HELLA CEO Dr. Rolf Breidenbach. "This proves that our clear strategic approach is in line with the key trends on the automotive market such as autonomous driving, efficiency and electrification, connectivity and digitalization as well as individualization, and that we have positioned ourselves correctly with our innovative products to benefit from the automotive industry’s transformation."
Automotive segment drives Group-wide sales growth
In the fiscal year 2017/2018, the Automotive segment played a major role in the Group-wide sales increase. Reported segment sales increased by 8.0 percent to € 5.4 billion (prior year: € 5.0 billion). This growth is the result, in part, of persistent high demand for innovative lighting and electronics solutions coupled with a number of new production ramp-ups. Together with ongoing capacity expansions and significant research and development activities, the adjusted EBIT in the Automotive segment rose by 3.3 percent to € 459 million (prior year: € 444 million) This corresponds to an adjusted EBIT margin of 8.5 percent (prior year: 8.8 percent). The segment's reported EBIT increased by 2.8 percent to € 457 million (prior year: € 444 million); the reported EBIT margin therefore amounts to 8.4 percent (prior year: 8.8 percent).
Aftermarket significantly improves earnings before interest and taxes
In the Aftermarket segment, sales with external customers rose by 3.4 percent to € 1.2 billion in the past fiscal year (prior year: € 1.2 billion). This sales growth was supported by positive development in all of the segment's business fields. In addition, the segment's earnings also improved significantly: the EBIT climbed by 19.3 percent to € 87 million (prior year: € 73 million), while the EBIT margin rose to 7.1 percent (prior year: 6.0 percent).
Special Applications generates strong sales and earnings momentum
The Special Applications segment closed out the fiscal year 2017/2018 with a considerable improvement in sales and earnings. The reported segment sales rose by 11.6 percent to € 430 million (prior year: € 385 million) due to positive development in the business for agricultural and construction machinery and truck accessories. Furthermore, the profitability of the segment also improved substantially: in the past fiscal year, the EBIT rose by € 28 million to € 48 million (prior year: € 20 million), which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 11.2 percent (prior year: 5.1 percent).
Dividend to be increased by 14 percent to € 1.05 per share
In the fiscal year 2017/2018, earnings for the period amounted to € 390 million (prior year: € 343 million). On this basis, the company management will propose to the Annual General Meeting on September 28, 2018, that the dividend be increased by 14 percent to € 1.05 per share (prior year: € 0.92).
Profitable growth path expected to continue in the fiscal year 2018/2019
For the current fiscal year 2018/2019 (June 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019), HELLA is confident the profitable growth path will continue. The company therefore expects currency- and portfolio-adjusted sales growth as well as an increase in the adjusted EBIT of 5 to 10 percent compared to the previous fiscal year. In terms of the adjusted EBIT margin, a value roughly equaling that of last year is expected.
Selected key financial figures (in € millions or as a percentage of sales):