Ulm, 16 April 2019 – Internationally active full service flooring systems provider Uzin Utz AG achieved record sales in the financial year 2018. In a complex market environment, the Group managed to increase its turnover by 16.9% to 345.7 million euros (2017: 295.8 million euros). With 20.9 million euros, the overall earnings from ordinary business activities achieved by the Group were above the average of the past five years; however, due to raw material and transport cost increases as well as a one-off expense, this was still below last year's amount (24.4 million euros). Due to the continued stable profit situation, the Uzin Utz AG executive and supervisory boards intend to propose the same dividend as last year, 1.30 euros, at the AGM in May.
In a demanding market environment with, on the one hand, a very busy construction industry and on the other fierce competition, Uzin Utz Group managed to increase its turnover by 16.9% in 2018, from 295.8 million euros to 345.7 million euros, primarily due to the positive development of the turnover of its subsidiaries codex GmbH & Co.KG and Uzin Utz South Pacific Ltd. as well as the business activities in North America. The new subsidiaries that were acquired in 2018, Forinn B.V. and Bosgoed Groothandel B.V. in the Netherlands and Mettmann-based tool manufacturer Pajarito, were also included in the Group's final accounts and therefore also contributed to the increase in turnover. The strategy of investing in future markets, which the company has followed for years, is therefore clearly successful. In 2018, the proportion of the Group's total turnover that is generated abroad again increased and went up by around 3.4 percentage points to a total of 62.3% (58.9).
"Last year's turnover development clearly shows that we are excellently positioned in the market and that our market strategy of organic growth combined with targeted acquisitions in order to optimise our value creation chain is successful," says Uzin Utz AG's head of finance Heinz Leibundgut.
On the profit side, the Ulm-based manufacturer of specialist chemicals for the construction industry suffered from the raw material price increases caused by the construction boom that affected the entire industry and the sudden cost increases in the logistics area that were above all due to a shipping capacity shortage. With 22.2 million euros, the earnings before interest and taxes therefore exceeded the average of the last four years but were still lower than the 25.1 million euros achieved in 2017, which was an extremely successful year.
The increasing shortages in the upstream raw material product sector, for example, led to in part double digit price increase percentages. Independent of the special weather-dependent circumstances in the area of shipping, the increases in the logistics costs were nevertheless in the high single digit percentage range. "To absorb this price pressure and also for risk management reasons, we already switched to cheaper suppliers for some raw materials with a high purchase price in 2018. As a result of our research and development, we also replaced some products with cheaper versions that are even more sustainable," explains Leibundgut. "In addition, we have started to pass the raw material cost development on to the market in the form of company-wide price increases in January 2019. We have thereby established the necessary conditions for an upswing on the earnings side in the current financial year that would equal the dynamism we have been seeing on the sales side," Leibundgut continues.
In order to strengthen the market and innovation leadership in the focus regions and to expand both further, and to actively utilise growth potentials, Uzin Utz AG continued to step up its research and development investments at its world-wide sites throughout 2018. In the reporting year, the Group's total investments increased by 5 million euros to a new record amount of 22.4 million euros.
The company therefore achieved earnings from ordinary business activities amounting to 20.9 million euros in 2018 (2017: 24.4 million euros).
In the reporting year, the Group had 1,268 employees (2017: 1,118), of which 658 (602) were employed at its national sites and 611 (516) at its international sites. In addition, 51 (46) young people were given the opportunity to complete a vocational training course. In the increasingly fierce competition for qualified as well as new young staff, Uzin Utz AG once again managed to prove its attractiveness as an employer in 2018. The Ulm-based company was voted "Best Employer" in its industry for the fourth time running. "Our employees are our most important resource and at the same time one of our key differentiators in a competitive environment. We are therefore extremely proud to have won this accolade once again. At the same time, it helps us to recruit new employees," says Leibundgut. "Our customers, the tradespeople, are battling even greater shortages of suitably qualified employees and support staff than we are. We help our customers by serving them as efficiently as possible to allow them to maximise their value creation with the limited manpower available to them."
Despite the fact that the global economic situation is becoming weaker, Uzin Utz AG expects the dynamism in the construction industry in the company's focus regions to continue to remain unchanged in 2019. The measures the company has already taken in response to the increasing raw material and logistics costs will contribute to a further increase in earnings.
In the current year, the company intends to invest around 24 million euros in order to continue to promote innovations and to be able to respond even better to the different requirements of the international markets as well as to future trends.
"We are continuing to expand our market and innovation leadership in the long term and are focusing above all on the two topics that are key to a successful future, sustainability and digitalisation. Where sustainability is concerned, we are continuing to pursue the course we have already started on and intend to successfully tackle new issues both in the area of raw materials as well as in the areas of packaging and transport. Our strategic digitalisation initiatives, on the other hand, will focus particularly on product availability and storage and on improving the digital dialogue and the digital services with and for our customers."
Uzin Utz Group key figures for the financial year 2018
About Uzin Utz Group
With around 1,300 employees and a company turnover of 345.7 million euros (2018), the Ulm-based Uzin Utz Group is leading in the development and manufacture of products and machines for laying flooring. The Group's companies develop and manufacture almost all of the specialist chemical product systems for constructing and laying flooring of all types as well as flooring surface treatments and flooring machines themselves; they are marketed worldwide under the internationally successful brands Uzin, Wolff, Pallmann, Arturo, codex and RZ. As a system partner for builders, planners, architects and property developers, Uzin Utz has been committed to providing professional support to end customers as well as processors in all sectors of the flooring industry for more than 100 years. See www.uzin-utz.com for more press releases.
Telephone: 0731 4097-4729