ANNUAL REPORT 2021
Strong growth in sales due to increased steel prices – pleasantly positive operating result with around 6 % EBIT
IMPORTANT KEY FIGURES AT A GLANCE
(business units with ongoing operations only)
1) In the 2020 financial year, Feintool received a loan of USD 8.4 million under the PPP program in the United States to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first half of 2021, the government assured the company that this loan would not have to be repaid. Feintool also received CHF 3.9 million (amount excl. tax effect) in immediate aid from the Swiss government in the year 2021 to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, due to capacities no longer required at one plant, the company recognized an impairment loss on manufacturing equipment totaling CHF 12.1 million (amount excl. tax effect). In this overview, EBITDA, EBIT, the group result, the profit margin, and earnings per share are presented without these effects.
2) In the 2020 financial year, the company agreed to a change in benefits in the Swiss pension plan and a curtailment due to the staff reduction measures, which had a positive one-off effect of CHF 6.3 million on comprehensive income for the period in accordance with IAS 19 (amount excl. tax effect). In addition, due to capacities no longer required at two plants, an impairment loss on manufacturing equipment totaling CHF 5.9 million was recognized (amount excl. tax effect). In this overview, EBITDA, EBIT, the group result, the profit margin, and earnings per share are presented without these effects.
3) Board of Directors' proposal
“Strong sales growth and approximately six percent EBIT”
as at December 31, 2021
The consolidated financial statements for 2021 apply to Feintool International Holding AG and its subsidiaries. They cover the period January 1 to December 31, 2021.
The issues in the supply chain continued in 2021. In fact, we actually felt this somewhat more strongly in the second half of 2021 than in the first half of the year. In particular, the semiconductor shortage had a strong negative impact on the automotive sector in the second half of 2021. This then led to the introduction of short-time work schedules during the second half of the year, particularly in Europe. The shortage of chips is still only slowly recovering and will continue to have an impact on us in 2022.
In 2020, Feintool received a loan of USD 8.4 million under the PPP program in the United States to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first half of 2021, the government assured the company that this loan would not have to be repaid. This resulted in other operating income of CHF 7.6 million.
In Switzerland, Feintool submitted two applications for emergency aid for COVID-19 hardship cases in 2021. The Canton of Bern’s Office of Economic Affairs approved these applications and Feintool received a credit of CHF 3.9 million in total. This amount is also reported in other operating income.
Feintool has begun implementing its Strategy 2030. A key element of this strategy is for the company to capitalize on the rapid growth of battery-electric vehicles. In this context, Feintool conducted an audit to assess the value of its manufacturing equipment. In the process, systems were identified which, as expected, can no longer be fully utilized due to the company’s transformation. This led to impairment losses on manufacturing equipment totaling CHF 12.1 million in the System Parts segment in Europe.
Unless expressly stated otherwise, the following information applies to Feintool’s operational activities excluding these one-off effects.
Orders received and order backlog in the capital goods business; expected releases in high-volume parts production
Companies’ willingness to make investments remained low due to uncertainties in the fineblanking supply chains. The Fineblanking Technology segment received orders valued at CHF 42.7 million (previous year: CHF 32.5 million), an increase of 32.1 % adjusted for currency effects. Orders from the System Parts segment accounted for CHF 4.8 million (previous year: CHF 7.9 million) of this total. As a result, third-party orders increased by 55.1 % to CHF 37.9 million (previous year: CHF 24.5 million) in the local currency. With a share of 11.3 % (previous year: 24.5 %), the importance of the System Parts segment is declining compared to the previous year.
The order backlog increased by 56.0 % to CHF 16.8 million (previous year: CHF 10.7 million). The current order backlog is insufficient and represents a workload of approximately three to four months.
Expected releases in the high-volume parts segment over the next six months total CHF 307.8 million (previous year: 253.1 million). This represents a year-over-year increase of 21.6 %. Since customers can adjust or even completely cancel their releases under certain conditions, this indicator is not particularly reliable in times of extreme volatility.
Net sales performance
Consolidated sales rose in the reporting currency by 19.5 % to CHF 588.1 million (previous year CHF 492.0 million). Half of the growth was due to an increase in volume while the other half of the increase came from higher material prices and, consequently, higher sales prices. During the reporting year, currency effects had a negative impact of CHF 0.2 million, equal to 0.1 %. As a result, Feintool recorded an increase in net sales of 19.6 % expressed in local currency. The System Parts segment generated 94.4 % of third-party sales (previous year: 93.6 %), while Feinblanking Technology was responsible for 5.6 % (previous year: 6.4 %).
Net sales in the System Parts segment increased by 20.6 % to CHF 559.8 million (previous year: CHF 464.3 million). Negative currency effects only totaled CHF 0.1 million, resulting in a 20.6 % increase in the segment’s sales expressed in local currency. In Europe, parts sales increased by 14.4 %, from CHF 272.9 million to CHF 312.2 million. Currency effects had a positive impact of CHF 2.1 million; in local currency, sales in Europe thus increased by 13.6 %. Business in North America even increased by 33.0 % in the reporting currency to CHF 170.1 million (previous year: CHF 127.9 million). The currency effect of the US dollar in the amount of CHF 3.0 million had a negative impact on sales, resulting in an increase in sales in local currency of 35.4 %. Significantly higher steel prices, which are passed on to customers, also figure into this increase in sales in the United States. Net sales in Asia increased by 16.9 % to CHF 77.7 million (previous year: CHF 66.5 million). Currency effects had a positive impact of CHF 0.9 million. Business in Asia, adjusted for currency effects, thus grew by 15.6 %.
Net sales generated by the Fineblanking Technology segment decreased to CHF 37.7 million (previous year: CHF 44.2 million). The translation effects of foreign currencies are negligible in the capital goods segment. Intra-group sales with the System Parts segment decreased by CHF 4.9 million, resulting in a share of 13.1 % (previous year: 28.5 %) in percentage terms. Sales to third-party customers increased by 3.7 % to CHF 32.7 million.
Overall, the Feintool Group sold products and services with a total value of CHF 314.5 million in Europe, slightly decreasing the region’s share to 53.5 % (previous year: CHF 274.4 million or 55.8 %). With sales of CHF 174.8 million, or 29.7 % of total sales (previous year: CHF 134.7 million or 27.4 %), the share of sales generated in North America increased. Sales in Asia decreased to CHF 98.8 million, thus this region’s share of total sales remained stable at 16.8 % (previous year: CHF 82.9 million and 16.8 %, respectively).
Key expense items
Material is by far the largest cost component for Feintool, whereby material costs also include costs for external processing of parts such as tempering or coating. In the reporting year, the material-to-sales ratio decreased from 44.2 % to 43.4 % – taking changes in inventories into account – and the cost of materials totaled CHF 255.4 million (previous year: CHF 217.5 million).
The reporting year was marked by a sharp increase in steel prices. Owing to price escalation clauses in many customer contracts and intensive negotiations, Feintool was able to pass on most of these fluctuations to its customers.
Labor costs totaled CHF 179.2 million (previous year: CHF 159.0 million excluding one-off effects). Significantly higher sales (driven by high steel prices) caused the decline in labor costs as a percentage of sales from 32.3 % to 30.5 %. Short-time work schedules at certain European sites helped to make labor costs more flexible, but across the group, short-time work compensation was lower than in the previous year.
In the System Parts segment, labor costs increased by CHF 23.2 million to CHF 154.9 million. The ratio of labor costs to sales fell from 29.1 % to 27.7 % in the reporting period. Efficiency improvements, particularly at the newer plants in China and at the Oelsnitz plant, had a significant positive impact. The construction of a new plant in the Czech Republic continues to have a disproportionate impact on labor costs.
In the Fineblanking Technology segment, labor costs increased by CHF 0.4 million to CHF 16.2 million (previous year: CHF 16.6 million). As a percentage of net sales, labor costs increased significantly from 37.5 % to 43.0 %. The sales decline is the main reason for this increase. In this technology-driven segment, making labor costs more flexible continues to be a challenge despite the utilization of short-time work schedules. In addition, Feintool intensified its R&D activities, particularly with regard to the production of metallic bipolar plates for fuel cells.
Other operating expenses rose by CHF 4.6 million to CHF 71.2 million. As a percentage of sales, however, the ratio fell slightly to 12.1 % (previous year: 13.5 %). Many components of operating expenses, such as lease payments or IT expenses, do not vary substantially in relation to sales. Other operating income rose sharply to CHF 13.4 million (previous year: CHF 1.3 million). Other operating income includes two one-off effects. Feintool USA received a loan of CHF 7.6 million under the PPP program that it now no longer has to repay. In addition, Feintool Technologie AG in Switzerland received CHF 3.9 million in emergency aid.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA)
Operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased significantly by CHF 32.4 million to CHF 85.5 million in the reporting year (previous year: CHF 53.2 million). At 14.5 %, the operating EBITDA margin in the financial year was significantly higher than in the previous year (10.8 %). There were three main reasons for this significant increase. Firstly, volume growth led to better capacity utilization at the plants and thus to increased profitability. Secondly, the company was able to achieve further operational process improvements. And thirdly, Feintool was able to benefit from passing on higher steel prices to customers, often at the same time. As a result, existing raw material inventories were reflected in the cost of materials at lower prices. Taking positive one-off effects of CHF 11.6 million into account, operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) totaled CHF 97.1 million, corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 16.5 %.
Depreciation, amortization, and impairment losses
Depreciation and amortization increased to CHF 51.1 million in the reporting year (previous year: CHF 50.3 million), caused by the significant capital expenditures in previous years. Relative to sales, amortization/depreciation fell from 10.2 % to 8.7 %. At CHF 57.4 million (previous year: CHF 43.3 million), capital expenditures stood slightly above depreciation and amortization. Due to overcapacities at a European manufacturing site, one-off impairment losses of CHF 12.1 million were also recognized in 2021.
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT)
Feintool generated operating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of CHF 34.4 million (previous year: CHF 3.0 million). The negative currency effect at the EBIT level amounted to CHF 0.5 million. Feintool’s highly capital-intensive business model increases the volatility of its operating earnings as a result of largely fixed depreciation and amortization. Thus, the operating EBIT margin stood at 5.9 % (previous year: 0.6 %). Taking the one-off effects into account, EBIT totaled CHF 33.9 million, corresponding to an EBIT margin of 5.8 %.
Operating earnings generated by the System Parts segment rose by CHF 29.5 million to CHF 53.8 million (previous year: CHF 16.7 million). As a result, the EBIT margin in the parts business improved to 8.3 % (previous year: 3.6 %).
The Fineblanking Technology segment, which continues to suffer from companies’ lack of willingness to invest in the fineblanking sector, posted an operating loss (EBIT) of CHF 4.3 million (previous year: loss of CHF 4.9 million). Research expenses were similar to the previous year, coming in at CHF 4.5 million.
Activities in this area will continue unchanged – as an investment in the future – despite the difficult environment.
The nonoperating units produced costs of CHF 9.6 million (previous year: CHF 9.0 million). The increase comes mainly from the costs of auditing and preparing for the acquisition of Kienle + Spiess GmbH.
The net financial result of CHF -4.6 million decreased slightly compared to the previous year (CHF -5.3 million). Adjusted for currency effects, the negative net financial result increased by CHF 0.9 million to CHF -5.7 million (previous year: CHF -4.8 million). With net debt remaining similar on average, interest expenses increased significantly due to the temporary suspension of covenants on the syndicated loan. The high volatility in various currencies led to currency gains of CHF 1.1 million in the reporting year (previous year: currency loss of 0.5 million). As a result, net debt at the end of the financial year stood at CHF 120.7 million, CHF 26.2 million lower than at the end of the previous year (CHF 146.9 million).
The Feintool companies’ overall tax expense totaled CHF 10.1 million. On the one hand, many Feintool companies achieved solid results, which led to a tax burden. On the other hand, some companies suffered losses. In countries where loss carryforwards expire relatively quickly, these losses are not capitalized. As in previous years, this affected the effective tax expense by CHF 2.6 million (previous year: CHF 2.4 million). This corresponds to a tax rate of 34.5 %.
All in all, including the one-off effects, the Feintool Group generated net income of CHF 19.2 million (previous year: loss of CHF 3.9 million).
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION
Total assets increased by CHF 7.4 million, equal to 1.1 %, to a total of CHF 684.4 million (previous year: CHF 677.1 million). The sharp decline in the value of the euro against the reporting currency at the end of the year had a significant impact on most items.
Current assets increased from CHF 231.9 million in the previous year to CHF 253.1 million. The individual items developed quite differently in some cases, however. Receivables increased – due to higher steel prices – to CHF 92.9 million (previous year: CHF 82.1 million). As a percentage of sales, receivables decreased slightly from 16.7 % to 15.8 %. The lower level of sales in the second half of the year had a significant impact on this figure. The age structure of receivables improved in the reporting period, with 15.4 % being overdue in the reporting period (previous year: 20.1 %), of which 58.4 % were overdue by less than 30 days. Inventories and contract assets also increased significantly by CHF 24.7 million to CHF 102.7 million (previous year: CHF 78.0 million) as a result of higher steel prices. Prepaid expenses and accrued income decreased to CHF 3.5 million (previous year: CHF 8.2 million). Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the reporting year totaled CHF 51.8 million (previous year: CHF 61.3 million).
Operating net working capital increased by CHF 15.5 million to CHF 84.4 million (previous year: CHF 68.9 million), thus amounting to 14.3 % of sales (previous year: 14.0 %). In particular, the sharp rise in steel prices had a negative impact on this key figure. This is reflected in the increase in receivables by CHF 16.4 million and in the increase in inventories (+ CHF 22.7 million). The increase in trade payables (+ CHF 19.2 million) had a positive impact on net working capital.
Total noncurrent assets decreased significantly by CHF 13.8 million or 3.1 % to CHF 431.3 million (previous year: CHF 445.2 million). Property, plant, and equipment fell by CHF 3.7 million to CHF 331.2 million. Impairment losses of CHF 12.1 million on assets whose capacities can no longer be fully utilized exacerbated this decline. Intangible assets decreased by CHF 5.6 million to CHF 85.9 million. Financial assets increased slightly and now amount to CHF 4.9 million. Deferred tax assets decreased by CHF 5.3 million to CHF 9.3 million (previous year: CHF 14.6 million)
On the liabilities side, debt decreased by CHF 37.1 million to CHF 346.0 million (previous year: CHF 383.2 million). Trade payables and other liabilities decreased by CHF 18.4 million and amounted to CHF 83.1 million. Tax liabilities, deferred income, current and noncurrent provisions, and deferred tax liabilities increased by CHF 7.4 million to CHF 67.5 million. Liabilities for employee benefits (IAS 19) decreased significantly by CHF 27.2 million to CHF 22.9 million. The Swiss companies paid a restructuring contribution of CHF 3.2 million to the pension fund. The revaluation of employee benefits recognized directly in equity had a positive impact of CHF 23.7 million. This amount stems mainly from the positive impact of demographic assumptions and higher expected returns in the Swiss pension fund.
Interest-bearing debt decreased by CHF 35.7 million to CHF 172.5 million (previous year: CHF 208.2 million). CHF 20.7 million of the interest-bearing liabilities were of a short-term nature, whereby the syndicated loan in the amount of CHF 27.9 million is presented as long-term in line with economic conditions. Noncurrent interest-bearing liabilities totaled CHF 162.6 million for the reporting period. Taking available cash and cash equivalents into account, net debt decreased markedly by CHF 26.2 million and thus totaled CHF 120.7 million (previous year: CHF 146.9 million). With CHF 162.6 million in cash and cash equivalents and available, confirmed lines of credit, Feintool has considerable financial flexibility (previous year: CHF 126.9 million).
Shareholder’s equity stood at CHF 338.4 million on December 31, 2021 (previous year: CHF 293.9 million). As a result, the equity ratio increased from 43.4 % to 49.4 %. The Statement of Changes in Equity shows that the net income from operations increased equity by CHF 19.2 million. Currency translation differences of CHF 6.8 million also had an impact. The revaluation of employee benefit obligations resulted in a positive effect of CHF 18.4 million. The other items had a small positive effect overall (CHF 0.1 million).
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS
Cash flow from operating activities increased significantly to CHF 75.8 million (previous year: CHF 41.5 million) as a result of the significantly improved result. In contrast to the previous year, net working capital increased by CHF 12.5 million in the reporting period (previous year: decrease of CHF 3.1 million), in particular due to higher steel prices. At CHF 37.4 million (previous year: CHF 40.2 million), cash flow from investing activities stood CHF 2.8 million lower than in the previous year. Overall, this resulted in a positive operating cash flow of CHF 38.3 million (previous year: cash inflow of CHF 1.3 million). Feintool was therefore able to finance its capital expenditures from operating cash flow in the reporting year.
The number of employees (excluding trainees) decreased by 92 to 2 478 in the financial year (previous year: 2 570). In addition, 89 young people (previous year: 100) are undergoing vocational training at our companies. The System Parts segment had 2 307 employees, which corresponds to a decline of 78 employees. The Fineblanking Technology segment had 137 employees at the end of the year (-15 compared to the previous year). A total of 34 employees (+1) work in units that are not directly involved in the operating business. Feintool had 1 492 employees in Europe at the end of 2021, equal to 60.2 % of the total workforce, and 66 fewer than in the previous year. Of these, 331 were employed in Switzerland (previous year: 376). In the United States, the number of employees fell by 22 to 533 (equal to a decrease of 21.5 %), while in Asia the number decreased by 5 to 453 (equal to a decline of 18.3 %).