SICK still on successful course - SICK’s sector focus and intelligent sensors distinguish the company in global competition
Waldkirch, 12. April 2007. SICK AG continued to develop very well during the 2006 fiscal year. In a year characterised by changes, the SICK Group was able to increase sales – for the thirteenth consecutive year – to EUR 646 million (+8.8 per cent). With a rise of 12.9%, the number of orders received grew to EUR 675 million (previous year: EUR 598 million), exceeding growth in sales. SICK achieved particularly high growth rates in Asia, where sales increased 16.4 per cent to EUR 71 million.
The SICK Group’s earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 12.4 per cent to EUR 64 million and also achieved a new record value. This growth was mainly the result of improved earnings in the Factory Automation segment. The segment’s EBIT rose 13.1 per cent to EUR 61 million. The Process Automation segment achieved an EBIT of EUR 3 million – comparable to that of the previous year. With Group net income of EUR 38 million (+11.6 per cent) SICK also achieved a new record result here.
Continued high investments for dynamic growth
SICK has made further investments in future growth, particularly in Germany. These include a new office building at its headquarters in Waldkirch, opened in September 2006 – in time for the company’s sixtieth anniversary of its founding. The SICK Group’s investments totalled EUR 44 million in 2006 (previous year: EUR 40 million). The sum spent on research and development rose 8.2 per cent to EUR 58 million.
More new employees
Continuing company growth also led to an increase in the number of employees in 2006. There were 4,392 personnel in the SICK Group on 31 December 2006. This corresponds to an increase of 7.3 per cent compared to the previous year. 147 new posts were created abroad, particularly in China and the USA. The number of employees in Germany rose by 150 to 2,908.
192 young people were undergoing training in the SICK Group at the end of 2006. Expenditure on training and further education rose by 1.7 per cent in the year under consideration, to EUR 6 million.
Positive prospects for 2007
The SICK Group expects renewed increases in sales and earnings during this year, as well as the creation of new jobs. SICK will further strengthen sales in growth regions worldwide by, among other measures, founding new sales companies in Romania and Mexico.
The results of the two segments in detail:
Factory Automation – successful thanks to customer orientation and product developments
SICK Group sales in the Factory Automation segment, which offers sensors and solutions for automation and safety technology, as well as automatic identification, and is particularly active in the packaging technology, robotics, machine construction, automotive, and handling and warehousing systems sectors, rose by 8.3 per cent to EUR 546 million. The segment’s EBIT grew by 13.2 per cent to EUR 61 million.
The drive technology market, in which SICK has been able to participate with the products of its SICK STEGMANN brand of motor feedback systems, experienced particularly strong worldwide growth in 2006. Fortified by the purchase of the assets of the Netzer Precision Motion Sensors Ltd., Israel, in January 2006, SICK further developed its market position in the motor feedback area, and especially direct drives.
The field of image-processing sensors (machine vision) continues to be characterised by strong growth. In addition to the existing areas of use, SICK was able to open up new markets in 2006 with the camera systems of the SICK IVP brand. A 3D scanner offering maximum precision, the Ruler E, was presented in 2006. Its extremely rapid gigabit Ethernet interface allows the generation of 10,000 three-dimensional profiles per second.
With the successful introduction of the S300 safety laser scanner, SICK was able to open up new fields of application during the 2006 fiscal year. Thanks to the S300’s scanning angle of 270°, it is the small-format safety solution for automated guided vehicles and for stationary use.
The breakthrough of the IO-Link, largely developed by SICK, as a communication standard for automation technology was one of the most important successes of 2006. In response to an initiative from SICK, a total of 14 producers in the automation and sensor sector have elaborated this new standard for communication between the sensor/actuator and the control system. With IO-Link as a new standard for networking sensors it is now also possible to enable sensors to communicate – without the need for complicated technology.
Business in products for Logistics Automation exceeded expectations in Europe due to the region’s optimism regarding the economy. Above-average growth was achieved in the strongly developing Asian market. The American market was characterised by high incoming order levels many of which, however, will only lead to sales in 2007.
The ICR890 high-end CCD camera system, which SICK successfully introduced in 2006, has been specially designed for use in the distribution centres of postal and package services. Applications in the food and semi-luxuries industry, and the automotive industry, were equipped with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems in 2006.
Process Automation – taking a dynamic growth course
2006 was a successful year for the Process Automation segment, which offers a wide-ranging portfolio of sensor solutions for analyses and process measurement technology under the SICK MAIHAK brand. The technologies of SICK MAIHAK are exploited, in particular, in power stations and cement works, waste incineration plants, the iron and steel industry, as well as the gas, chemical and petrochemical industries.
Business was characterised in 2006 by positive development in plant constructions, and a number of projects were implemented in Germany and abroad. Sales in the Process Automation segment rose 11.3 per cent compared to the previous year, to EUR 99 million. As this growth was also linked with, among other things, considerable advance work for the future, the rise in sales has not yet been translated into a corresponding increase in earnings. The segment’s earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) reached EUR 3 million.
As in 2005, China drove the process automation growth curve in Asia. Overall, above-average growth was achieved in Asia in both incoming orders and sales. In addition to South Korea and Taiwan, India developed well here. The Near and Middle East also displayed very satisfactory growth. This growth was mainly driven by gas and petrochemicals, as well as power stations. This region’s great potential will be taken into account in 2007 with a further intensification of sales.
SICK AG is one of the world’s leading producers of sensors and sensor solutions for industrial applications. You can obtain further information on SICK on the Internet at http://www.sick.com or by phone at +49 (0)7681 202-3873.