EQS-Adhoc: HOCHDORF Holding AG: Successful and groundbreaking year

EQS Group-Ad-hoc: HOCHDORF Holding AG / Key word(s): Final Results
HOCHDORF Holding AG: Successful and groundbreaking year

26.03.2015 / 07:05
Release of an ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 KR.
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.


HOCHDORF Group Press Release: Annual Results 2014

Successful and groundbreaking year

Hochdorf, 26 March 2015 - The HOCHDORF Group significantly increased both
turnover and revenue in 2014. The Group achieved growth of 14.0% with gross
sales revenue of CHF 428.7 million. Earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were increased by 50.3% to CHF 27.2
million. This resulted in overall net profits of CHF 16.1 million
(+166.3%). The Board of Directors is requesting that the AGM approves an
increase in dividend from capital reserves from CHF 3.2 to CHF 3.7 per
named share.

In the 2014 business year, the HOCHDORF Group sold 99,155 tonnes of product
(excluding milk trade business in Lithuania +8.1% compared to the previous
year) and achieved a gross sales revenue of 428.7 million (previous year
CHF 376.1 million; +14.0%). The main drivers of this upward trend are the
high growth in the area of infant formula, high milk prices, which were
largely transferred on to the market, and good business performance in
Lithuania. The plants were operating at close to capacity all year round
and the Group managed to process 507.0 million kg of milk, whey, milk
permeate and buttermilk (+11.5%). At the site in Lithuania, 26.7 million kg
more milk and whey protein was processed than in the previous year
(+38.5%). In its Swiss plants, HOCHDORF dried 25.6 million kg more liquids
than in 2014 (+6.6%).

Positive factors in all business areas
There was a percentage increase in gross profits to 24.7% (previous year
23.7%). However the nominal increase in the gross profit to CHF 105.2
million (previous year 89.2 million) is even more significant. HOCHDORF
recorded higher operating costs than in the previous year, both in terms of
personnel costs and for other operating costs. This increase can be
explained by high capacity utilisation, additional staffing and the
improved results. In terms of EBITDA, HOCHDORF achieved a record result of
CHF 27.2 million (previous year 18.1 million). The EBIT result was CHF 20.0
million (previous year 10.3 million) and net profits were CHF 16.1 million
(previous year 6.1 million).

Positive factors from all three business areas contributed to the pleasing
results. The high milk prices were largely transferred to the market in the
Dairy Ingredients business division. No amortisations were necessary
despite the difficult circumstances surrounding the "Schoggi law". The
HOCHDORF Group again increased capacity and optimised its product range, as
well as improving margins. In Cereals & Ingredients, the product range and
portfolio streamlining continued.

Cash flow and financing
In comparison to the previous year, cash flow from operational activities
rose from CHF 18.2 million to CHF 20.5 million. There was also a
significant increase in earned income from CHF 18.1 million to CHF 25.3
million. In the area of investments, there was expenditure of over CHF 18.3
million, with a further CHF 15.1 million spent on acquisitions. The
investments and acquisitions resulted in negative free cash flow for 2014.
The net debt attributable to acquisitions stood at CHF 46.8 million at the
end of 2014 (previous year 40.0 million). In spite of the acquisitions, the
equity ratio still amounted to a good 43.2% (previous year 42.6%). The
HOCHDORF Group's financing therefore forms a solid basis for continued
company growth.

Reflecting on the 2014 business year, Dr Thomas Eisenring said: "It was an
eventful and groundbreaking year. We have shown that HOCHDORF can achieve
sustained success by once again improving our results significantly
compared to 2013. We have placed important markers for the future with our
two acquisitions in Germany."

The acquisition of Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH in Marbach, Germany and the 60
per cent holding in Uckermärker Milch GmbH as well as the 26 per cent
holding in Ostmilch Handels GmbH were only completed at the end of the
year. The results for these companies are not therefore included in the
income statement for 2014. However, they do appear in the balance sheet as
of 31.12.2014.

Dairy Ingredients
Turnover for HOCHDORF Swiss Milk Ltd grew to CHF 258.1 million in 2014
(previous year 232.8 million; +10.9%). This was due to a marked increase in
liquid quantities and higher milk prices. There was an overall increase in
volumes sold of +6.4% to 63,001 tonnes. A new competitor on the market
provided stiff competition in the important area of roller-dried whole milk
powder production. However, in addition to its excellent products, HOCHDORF
also has the benefit of substantial product know-how, related services and
delivery reliability. None of our competitors can supply customers from two
plants or work so intensively on the (customer-specific) further
development of roller-dried whole milk powder.

HOCHDORF Baltic Milk UAB achieved gross sales revenue of CHF 43.6 million
in 2014 (previous year 31.9 million; +36.5%). This huge growth figure is
mainly attributable to a milk trade transaction with a Lithuanian dairy.
Without the milk trade transaction, there would be growth of almost 9% to
CHF 34.8 million. The Russian embargo on milk products from the EU provided
the company with a significantly higher milk quantity at lower prices.
Because the international prices for milk proteins only fell towards the
end of the third quarter, HOCHDORF Baltic Milk was able to pay a relatively
good price for milk for longer - and successfully sell its products on the

Baby Care
HOCHDORF Nutricare Ltd targeted growth of between 18 and 22 per cent.
Unfortunately this target was not quite reached due to a lack of filling
capacities. There was nonetheless substantial growth in turnover of over
16% to CHF 110.0 million (previous year CHF 94.5 million). This growth was
achieved with existing customers in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia
- with particular emphasis on China. We also began trading with a large new
customer in China. With regard to limited filling capacities, HOCHDORF is
seeking to optimise plant capacities in the short term while also
investigating external filling options.

Cereals & Ingredients
Cereals & Ingredients suffered a fall in turnover in 2014 of -9.0% to CHF
18.2 million (previous year CHF 20.0 million). This was mainly due to
reduced turnover in bakery products and the streamlining of the product
range in line with efficiency and profitability measures. The acquisition
of Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH significantly strengthens the cereals area -
particularly with regard to organic quality.

Outlook 2015
In mid-January the Swiss National Bank announced that it would no longer
support the minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 to the euro. The HOCHDORF
Group has a euro surplus of around 60 million euros per year. The slight
recovery of the euro has eased this pressure to a certain extent. However,
the intention is still to press on with the efficiency and value creation
measures that were already in place. It is therefore important to continue
on the road of "capacity maximisation" and with the "Prenzlau infant
formula" project. Additional measures included price reductions for Swiss
suppliers and price increases in the area of infant formula. Thomas
Eisenring has declared that, in spite of the monetary influences, every
effort will be made to meet the budget figures targeted for 2015.

In the area of Dairy Ingredients, HOCHDORF is anticipating a fall in milk
quantities due to lower milk prices - particularly in the second half of
the year. For this reason more whey and other milk-based liquids are being
processed. The aim is to run existing plants as near to capacity as
possible over the course of the year. The pressure on the Swiss milk price
would be significantly reduced if the government were to increase "Schoggi
law" funds to the maximum amount permitted by the WTO.

We will exploit international synergies and extend cooperation between the
Swiss sites and our new plant in Germany and the plant in Lithuania. We
anticipate increased milk quantities for our plant in Lithuania due to the
continued import ban for EU milk products to Russia. We are still planning
an investment programme in the low millions in Lithuania, in order to
increase capacities for the existing plants.

The HOCHDORF Group is expecting a growth in turnover in Baby Care due to
the various optimisation measures undertaken on the production and
packaging plants. However this should be lower than in the business year
2014. We are preparing to set up a company in Uruguay to market infant
formula in Latin America. The aim is to win additional infant formula
orders so that products from the renovated tower in Prenzlau can be sold

Cereals & Ingredients will integrate Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH in 2015 and
continue to pursue the new business in the children's food market. The
acquisition of the oil mill in Marbach (Germany) enables the HOCHDORF Group
to internationalise its expertise on the gentle processing of cereals.

At group level, HOCHDORF is anticipating gross sales revenue in the region
of CHF 580 to 620 million for the current year. Most of the growth in
turnover is attributable to the acquisitions made in 2014. "The nominal
EBIT compared to the production revenue will be somewhat lower than in 2014
on account of the acquisitions and their product portfolio at around the
2.8 to 3.0% mark," explains CEO Dr. Thomas Eisenring.

HOCHDORF Holding Ltd is pursuing a cautious dividend policy geared towards
sustainability. This is why the Board of Directors is proposing a dividend
from capital reserves of CHF 3.70 per share at the AGM of Friday 8 May
2015. The cautious increase in the dividend from CHF 3.20 to CHF 3.70 gives
a return of 2.68% as of 31.12.2014.

Key figures for the HOCHDORF Group

CHF 1,000                                          2014      2013    Change
Gross sales revenues                            428,689   376,145    +14.0%
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation
and amortisation (EBITDA)                        27,197    18,099    +50.3%
in % of production revenues                         6.4       4.9
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT)          20,016    10,298    +94.4%
in % of production revenues                         4.7       2.8
Net profit                                       16,139     6,063   +166.2%
in % of production revenues                         3.8       1.6
Staffing levels at 31.12                           573*       362    +58.3%
Liquid quantity processed (milk, cream and
whey) in kg (million)                             507.0     454.6    +11.5%
Quantities produced (including cream) in
tonnes                                           99,720    89,631    +11.3%
Quantities sold in tonnes                        99,155    91,699     +8.1%

                                               31.12.20  31.12.20
                                                     14        13
Balance sheet total                             331,109   243,485    +36.0%
of which equity capital                         143,168   103,774    +38.0%
in % of the balance sheet total                    43.2      42.6

Share details                                      2014      2013
Earnings per share (in CHF)                       17.45      6.95   +151.1%
Dividend payout (in CHF)                           3.7*       3.2    +15.6%
Share price as at 31.12 (in CHF)                 138.00    104.00    +32.7%
Stock exchange capitalisation (in CHF million)    147.8      93.6    +57.9%
Price/earnings (P/E) ratio                          7.9      15.0    -47.3%

* Including employees at Uckermärker Milch GmbH, Prenzlau (Germany) and
Marbacher Ölmühle GmbH, Marbach (Germany).
** Subject to the approval of the AGM on the 8 May 2015.

To read the full Annual Report, go to:

End of ad hoc announcement

Additional features:

Document: http://n.equitystory.com/c/fncls.ssp?u=JNXHQGULDL
Document title: Press Release for the annual results 2014


26.03.2015 News transmitted by EQS Schweiz AG. www.eqs.com - news
archive: http://switzerland.eqs.com/de/News

The issuer is responsible for the contents of the release.


Information and Explaination of the Issuer to this News:

The HOCHDORF Group, based in Hochdorf, achieved a consolidated gross sales
revenue of CHF 428.7 million in 2014. It is one of the leading foodstuff
companies in Switzerland, employing 573 staff as of 31/12/2014. Made from
natural ingredients such as milk, whey and wheat germ, HOCHDORF products
have been contributing to our health and wellbeing since 1895 - from babies
to senior citizens. Its customers include the food industry and the
wholesale and retail sectors. Its products are sold in around 80 countries.
The shares are traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich (ISIN


Language:    English
Company:     HOCHDORF Holding AG
             Siedereistrasse 9
             6281 Hochdorf
Phone:       +41 41 914 65 65
Fax:         +41 41 914 66 66
E-mail:   hochdorf@hochdorf.com
Internet: www.hochdorf.com
ISIN:        CH0024666528
Listed:      Foreign Exchange(s) SIX

End of News    EQS Group News-Service
337341 26.03.2015


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