Thursday, April 26, 2012

GOOD FINANCIAL YEAR FOR TAKKT GROUP

TAKKT Group's divisions began the new financial year with differing dynamics. TAKKT AMERICA benefited from the positive economic conditions, while TAKKT EUROPE felt the effects of the slowdown of the economic development in Europe. Overall, turnover increased by 4.4 percent and the EBITDA margin surpassed the very high previous level at 17.9 (2011: 17.1) percent due to lower advertising costs. For the current financial year, the TAKKT Management Board has reaffirmed its forecast for organic turnover growth of around two percent and the aimed-for EBITDA margin in the middle of the target corridor of 12 to 15 percent. The Group has tapped into additional growth in turnover and earnings by acquiring the US direct marketing company for display articles, GPA, which is not included in TAKKT's organic growth predictions.

Significant events in the first quarter of 2012 are:

•    Organic turnover growth of 2.2 percent
•    EBITDA margin increased to 17.9 (17.1) percent
•    Earnings per share reach EUR 0.35 (0.31)
•    Total dividend of EUR 0.85 per share proposed for 2011
•    Acquisition of the US direct marketing company for display articles GPA
•    Start of web-only brand Certeo in France
In the first quarter of 2012, TAKKT Group generated consolidated turnover of EUR 222.8 (213.5) million, growing by 4.4 (14.9) percent. This increase was achieved despite the already very good level in the previous year. The strong business in North America was the main reason for this. The Group also benefited from the on average stronger US dollar against the euro. Adjusted for currency effects, turnover rose by 2.2 (12.5) percent. "As was already becoming clear at the end of the previous year, TAKKT AMERICA has replaced TAKKT EUROPE as the growth driver within the Group in the current financial year," commented Dr Felix A. Zimmermann, CEO of TAKKT AG. "While uncertainty dominated the economic situation in Europe, the economic development in North America picked up again. Once more, TAKKT benefited from the regional diversification of its activities." The growth recorded in the first three months was mainly due to a rise in average order value.

As anticipated, the gross profit margin of 43.0 (43.7) percent in the first three months of 2012 could not quite match the very high level seen in the previous year's quarter. This was primarily due to TAKKT AMERICA's higher share, which generally has a lower gross profit margin compared with TAKKT EUROPE, in consolidated turnover compared to the first quarter of 2011. Nevertheless, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) rose to EUR 39.8 (36.6) million. The corresponding EBITDA margin was 17.9 (17.1) percent. This increase was the result of a one-time impact from changes in the timing of advertising expenses in TAKKT AMERICA's Plant Equipment Group (PEG). If PEG's advertising costs had remained unchanged, the Group's EBITDA margin would have been down slightly compared to the previous year's period. In addition to the structurally lower gross profit margin, this development is due to a lower utilisation of the mail order infrastructure in Europe.
The TAKKT cash flow - defined as the profit for the period plus depreciation and amortisation, impairment of non-current assets and deferred tax affecting profit - increased by 7.9 percent to EUR 28.6 (26.5) million. This corresponds to a cash flow margin of 12.8 (12.4) percent.

For the full-year of 2012, the TAKKT Management Board reaffirms its three forecast scenarios and its estimation of the middle scenario - with lower GDP growth in the main markets compared to 2011 - as the most likely one. According to the expectations at TAKKT, this would lead to an organic increase in turnover of around two percent and operational profitability in the middle of its own target corridor of 12 to 15 percent. "The current figures for various purchasing managers' indices (PMIs) suggest that business developments in the USA and Europe will also develop differently over the next few months" explained CFO Dr Claude Tomaszewski. "Through our various growth initiatives, we are continuing to proactively expand our business regardless of economic developments."
In February 2012, the web-only brand Certeo successfully commenced operations in France. TAKKT also launched its first customer-specific internet offering, eduquip24.de, at the end of the financial year 2011. Its target market is the adult education sector. Furthermore, the traditional multi-channel brands all over the Group will also develop and expand their offerings in 2012.
"In addition, with our recent takeover of GPA we have again taken another important step in further diversifying our portfolio towards future growth markets," concluded Tomaszewski.
 

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