In line with its strategy, Georg Fischer acquired two leading piping
systems companies in the US during the first semester. Harvel
Plastics, the US leader for industrial pipes, allows GF Piping Systems
to offer nationwide the most comprehensive package for water treatment
and chemical applications in North America. IPP is a top US
manufacturer of large size polyethylene fittings and pipes for the
promising water distribution market, a very good fit for GF Piping
Systems’ water infrastructure business in the US.
The two acquired companies together add more than USD 130 million of
yearly turnover to GF Piping Systems and will contribute significantly
to its leadership in the industrial and utility applications worldwide.
Sales at GF Piping Systems went up 6 percent to CHF 645
million compared to the first half year 2011. Organically the top line
remained at the same level. Despite double-digit growth in North
America, sales were affected by the sluggish demand in Europe and by
the very cold winter conditions at the beginning of the year across
the continent. Newly developed market segments such as cooling,
shipbuilding, and mining showed a promising high growth rate and
helped to compensate the downturn in semi-conductors and solar panels production.
The operating result (EBIT) at CHF 65 million remained below the
record figure of CHF 80 million achieved during the first half of 2011
due to lower loads at the European plants of GF Piping Systems.
During the first half year of 2012, plants in China and Malaysia were
enlarged and the two companies Harvel Plastics and IPP were acquired
in the US. They will all add to the top and bottom lines during the
GF Automotive was affected by the difficult economic conditions
in Europe during the first half year. Whereas sales to premium car
manufacturers remained at a high level, sales to truck makers and
compact car manufacturers slowed down, affecting the load of several
plants in Europe. Sales in China increased again but did not
compensate the reduction in Europe. As a result, compared to the first
half of 2011, the top line went down 1 percent in local currencies and
5 percent in Swiss francs to CHF 824 million.
The operating result decreased to CHF 37 million from CHF 44 million
during the first half of 2011. Raw material prices remained overall
stable during the period but wages and electricity prices in Germany
and Austria increased substantially. The working-time flexibility has
been used to adjust actual costs to revenues. This has already
resulted in a significant reduction of temporary staff as well as
overtime at several plants in Europe.
In order to boost productivity and ensure competitiveness going
forward, GF Automotive is investing in a state-of-the-art, fully
automated molding line at its iron foundry in Mettmann (Germany). The
facility, which will start operations during the fourth quarter of
2012, aims at offering customers the best quality and delivery performance.
GF AgieCharmilles increased its top line to CHF 398 million, up
2 percent compared to the first half of 2011, and 4 percent in local
currencies. The adaptation of the product range to the key market
segments of electronics, mobile phones, aerospace, and medtech is
paying off and led to the increase in sales. As a result, operational
profit (EBIT) increased significantly to CHF 17 million from CHF 12
million during the first half of 2011. Thanks to a steady order stream
during the period, the backlog at mid-year stands at an even higher
level than at the end of December 2011, thus ensuring a good load for
the upcoming months.
In order to cope with customer demand, GF AgieCharmilles has
increased its production capacity for high-speed milling machines and
in parallel opened a new demo center in Nidau (CH) to optimize its
consulting and testing services.
Also, thanks to the increase of the purchase volume in euros and the
ramping-up of its two Chinese plants,
GF AgieCharmilles has further adapted its footprint and increased its
competitiveness. Today, a majority of the machines are being produced