Global camera manufacturer Basler has seen its sales flatten and earnings fall.
In its audited annual report for 2018, sales came in at €150m compared to €150.2m in 2017 and earnings before taxes fell from €29.8m to €24.5m.
In a statement Basler said: “In a stagnating market environment in 2018, the group’s sales stabilized on the high level of the previous year and amounted to Euro 150.0 million (previous year: Euro 150.2 million) in 2018. Incoming orders amounted to Euro 154.0 million and were close to the previous year’s level of Euro 153.6 million. Thus, Basler AG stabilized the sales level which increased by 54 % in 2017, compensating the previous year’s large projects in the electronics industry by business with a broader base of customers in less cyclic markets.”
It explained that “…earnings before taxes decreased…particularly due to planned strategic investments in the building up of personnel. Thus, the pre-tax margin summed up to 16.3 % (previous year: 19.8 %). With these results, Basler achieves the forecast communicated to the capital markets and performs above the mid-term targeted EBT-margin of > 12%.”
It went on to say: “The free cash flow calculated as sum of the cash flows from operations and cash flow for investments reached a value of Euro 1.3 million (previous year: Euro 22.0 million, -94 %). It was significantly impacted by the acquisition of Silicon Software GmbH in July 2018.
“With 100 new employees, the number of staff increased significantly especially in marketing, sales and R&D. Focus in 2019 will be an efficient training of new employees, the further integration of Silicon Software GmbH, which was acquired in 2018, and, furthermore, the establishing of Basler China by taking-over the business from the local distribution partner Beijing Sanbao Xingye (MVLZ) Image Tech. Co. Ltd.”
As for the current year, Basler has pegged its sales forecast at between €160m and €180m despite the “…high uncertainty of the markets and the economic slowdown.”
It concluded: “Therefore, the company would develop better than the market. Basler estimates the market trend for vision components to stagnate again or to decrease slightly in the year 2019. Despite the present weakness of the economy, Basler’s management holds on to its growth course, as the growth drivers are still intact for the medium- and long-term. In 2019, Basler expects a pre-tax return rate within a corridor of 7 – 11 %. The management will seek to further refine this forecast corridor during the fiscal year.”