SFS shareholders approve all proposals at the AGM.

News - 2 May 2019

971 shareholders attended the 26th Annual General Meeting of SFS Group AG, which took place yesterday. They represented 79.74% of total voting rights. All of the Board of Directors’ proposals were approved by a large majority.

Heinrich Spoerry, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, welcomed 971shareholders to the 26th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of SFS Group AG on 1 May 2019 at the Aegeten sports center in Widnau, Switzerland. They represented 29,903,408 shares or 79.74% of the share capital.

Solid business performance

In his welcome speech Heinrich Spoerry commented on the company’s solid performance in the 2018 financial year. SFS Group achieved sales growth of 6.5% in 2018. This attractive sales growth was broadly based in terms of end markets and geographies. The Fastening Systems segment's above-average performance was particularly pleasing. Within the scope of an informal interview conducted by two apprentices, Jens Breu (CEO) and Rolf Frei (CFO) spoke about new projects that will generate growth for the company in future years and the key financial numbers for 2018.

All proposals approved

In the statutory part of the AGM, the shareholders approved the management report, the financial statements and the consolidated financial statements. All members of the Board of Directors were re-elected and the compensation for the members of the Board of Directors and the Group Executive Board was approved. Members of both boards were released from liability for their activities during the past year.

Likewise the independent proxy Bürki Bolt Rechtsanwälte in Heerbrugg (Switzerland) as well as the statutory auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in St. Gallen were re-elected.

Payout to shareholders

Shareholders also approved the dividend of CHF 2.00 per registered share. This distribution consists of the remaining capital contribution reserves (CHF 1.66 per share) and an ordinary dividend payout (CHF 0.34 per share) from retained earnings.Thus, the approved dividend is 5.3% more than the previous year’s dividend (CHF 1.90).

SFS GV 2019_Chairman Board of Directors Heiri Spoerry
SFS AGM 2019: Heinrich Spoerry, Chairman of the Board of Directors
SFS GV 2019_ Talkshow
SFS AGM 2019, impressions talkshow, on screen: CEO Jens Breu
SFS GV 2019_Impressions_Talkshow_Rolf Frei
SFS AGM 2019: impressions talkshow, on screen: CFO Rolf Frei
SFS GV 2019_Impressions
SFS AGM 2019: impressions talkshow: the apprentices Milena Ciardo & Yannick Haselbach with Rolf Frei, CFO & Jens Breu, CEO (from left to right)

SFS strengthens market position in U.S. construction industry

News - 2 April 2019

SFS Group acquires Triangle Fastener Corporation (TFC). TFC, with headquarters in Pittsburgh, USA, is a leading provider of fasteners and other products for the commercial construction industry. TFC produced sales of more than $ 70 million in 2018 and has approximately 200 employees. Thanks to this acquisition, SFS will be able to expand access to the market and its customers in the American building sector.

TFC was founded in 1977 and supplies end-users in the commercial construction industry with a comprehensive assortment of customer-specific fasteners, as well as other application solutions. TFC sells its products to roughly 6,000 active customers through 23 separate branch locations in 15 states, and is one of the leading suppliers in the Eastern United States.

TFC will operate as a part of the Construction division within the Fastening Systems segment. The company will be led by the existing management, thus ensuring its continuity.

SFS looks back on a solid financial year in 2018

News - 8 March 2019

SFS Group achieved sales growth of 6.5% in 2018. This attractive growth was broadly based in terms of end markets and geographies. The Fastening Systems segment's above-average performance is particularly pleasing. Operating profit reached 14.0 % of net sales and stays with CHF 243.1 million 4.2% above the comparable prior-year figure.

SFS Group achieved solid sales growth of 6.5% in the 2018 financial year, lifting its consolidated sales to CHF 1,739 million. Sales growth was driven by organic growth of 5.0% in the Group's core business activities (4.3% including the Engineered Components segment's trading activities). This growth reflects SFS’ strong position as a provider of customer-specific solutions in selected niche markets. Growth for the period was broadly based and the Fastening Systems segment showed the strongest development. Growth in the second half was slower than in the first half. This can be traced to the challenging comparison base – sales growth in the prior-year period was strong – and to an unexpected decline in demand during the fourth quarter, especially from customers in the automotive and electronics industries.

Changes in the scope of consolidation contributed 0.8% to top-line growth, which mostly reflects the first-time consolidation of HECO in the second half. Currency movements had a positive effect of 1.4% on reported sales growth.

Operating profit increased by 4.2% to CHF 243.1 million

Operating profit increased by 4.2% on a comparable basis to CHF 243.1 million. Profitability improved considerably during the second half (EBIT margin of 14.4%) compared to the first half (EBIT margin of 13.6%). The EBIT margin for the year as a whole stood at 14.0%, which is slightly below the comparable year-ago margin of 14.3%. This contraction is primarily attributed to sales mix effects arising, for example, from the stronger growth rates of the Fastening Systems and Distribution & Logistics segments and the strong decline in demand during the final quarter of the year. Net profit for the year rose by 21.9% to CHF 193.9 million, which corresponds to 11.2% of net sales.

20190308 Erfolgsrechnung_en

Broadly based growth

SFS continues to expand its position in key application areas. Broadly based sales growth led to a robust sales mix in terms of regions and end markets. Sales growth in Europe (+9.6%) stemmed from solid organic growth as well as positive consolidation and currency effects. The good performance in Americas (+9.3%) can be traced to strong demand in the construction, industrial and medical device sectors. Sales growth in Switzerland (+3.8%) was fueled by innovation and promising new customer wins. Due to subdued market demand in the electronics sector, sales rose 1.1% in Asia.

Engineered Components segment – growth in all four divisions

The Engineered Components segment generated sales of CHF 967.0 million despite a challenging market environment. This increase of 4.4% from the previous year was largely driven by the ramp-up of new projects. A significant improvement in the second-half EBIT margin resulted in an attractive full-year margin of 18.2% (previous year 19.8%, adjusted).

20190308 Kennzahlen_Engineered_Components_en

Fastening Systems segment – strong progress achieved

Thanks to its innovative products, the Fastening Systems segment continued to strengthen its competitive position and captured more market share. Sales grew by 13.8% year-on-year to CHF 437.1 million. The launch of new products was a strong sales driver, with additional support coming from the good market environment. SFS increased its stake in HECO, a specialist for structural timberwork, to 51% to further strengthen this strategic partnership. HECO has been fully consolidated by SFS Group since 1 July 2018 and it contributed 5.8% to the segment's sales growth. Fastening Systems made considerable progress towards improving its profitability during the period under review. At 9.8% (previous year 7.6%), the segment's EBIT margin for the reporting period nearly reached the targeted mid-term margin of 10%.

20190308 Kennzahlen_Fastening_Systems_en

Distribution & Logistics – acceleration in growth

Sales in the Distribution & Logistics segment rose by 3.6% year-on-year to CHF 334.5 million. Organic sales growth, taking into consideration the divestment of the segment’s security systems' business unit, amounted to 5.1%, which clearly exceeds the growth rate of Switzerland's gross domestic product. Tools and the construction-related product groups displayed particularly strong growth. Profitability improved during the year under review. EBIT rose to CHF 25.8 million, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 7.6% (previous year 6.9%, adjusted).

20190308 Kennzahlen_Distribution&Logistics_en

Dividend payment shall be increased by 5.3%

In view of the robust earnings, the very solid balance sheet with an equity ratio of 74.4%, and the guardedly optimistic outlook for future business activity, the Board of Directors will propose an increase in the payout to CHF 2.00 per share (previous year: CHF 1.90) at the pending Annual General Meeting. The distribution will include the remaining capital contribution reserves (CHF 1.66 per share) and an ordinary dividend payout (CHF 0.34 per share) from retained earnings. The payout from capital contribution reserves is not subject to withholding or income tax for natural persons whose tax domicile is in Switzerland.

Negotations on a strategic collaboration with Triangle Fasteners

Since October 2018 SFS Group has been engaged in discussions on a strategic collaboration with Triangle Fasteners Corporation in USA. The negotiations are well advanced. SFS expects final results in the next few weeks.

Outlook for financial year 2019

SFS expects the market environment in 2019 to be volatile given the trade tensions between the US and China and the recent slowdown in global economic activity. Thanks to its healthy project pipeline, SFS expects to achieve top-line growth of 3% ─ 5% despite the challenging environment. Taking into consideration the uncertain economic situation, SFS expects the adjusted EBIT margin for financial 2019 to be in a range from 13% ─ 15%. Expenditures in connection with the commissioning of the new manufacturing platform in Nantong (China) will result in one-off costs in the low double-digit millions in 2019. Conversely, accounting gains on the disposal of real estate are likely to be recognized. The negative net effect of these one-off effects on reported EBIT for 2019 is likely to range from the high single-digit to low double-digit million amount.

SFS realizes solid sales growth

News - 25. January 2019

SFS Group achieved solid sales growth of 6.5% in the 2018 financial year, lifting its consolidated sales to CHF 1,739 million. This attractive sales development was broadly based in terms of end markets and geographies. Operating profit rose to CHF 243 million, which corresponds to 14% of net sales.

Sales growth was carried forward by a solid and balanced organic growth rate of 5.0% in the Group's core business activities and reflects the strength of SFS’s customer-specific solutions for selected niche markets. Growth for the period was broadly based and led by the Fastening Systems segment. The growth rate in the second half was slower than in the first half. This can be traced to the challenging comparison base – sales growth in the previous year was strong – and to an unexpectedly sharp, temporary decline in demand during the fourth quarter, especially from customers in the automotive and electronics industry.

Sales growth attributable to changes in the scope of consolidation amounted to 0.8%, which primarily reflects the first-time consolidation of HECO (Ludwig Hettich GmbH & Co. KG) for the second half of the year. Currency movements had a positive effect of 1.4% on reported sales growth.

20190125_Sales by segment
20190125_Growth factors

Sales by region: Broadly based growth
SFS has a broad, balanced presence in its various geographic markets and the sales mix in the individual regions showed stable trends during the period under review. Besides the solid organic sales growth, the pleasing performance in Europe (+9.6%) is attributable to positive consolidation and currency effects. The good results in Americas (+9.3%) are primarily allocable to strong demand in the construction, industrial and medical sectors. In Switzerland (+3.8%), the positive development was fueled by innovation and promising new customers.

20190125_Sales by region

Engineered Components: Robust growth generated
The Engineered Components (EC) segment generated sales of CHF 967.0 million despite a challenging market environment, which corresponds to an increase of 4.4% versus the previous year. All divisions contributed to the sales growth. The ramp-up and launch of new projects were a major growth factor.

Sales momentum of the EC segment experienced a temporary weakness, particularly in the fourth quarter. Amongst others this can be traced to delays in the homologation of new engines in the automotive industry, a general market saturation in the smartphone business and an increasing uncertainty among market participants caused by US-China trade tensions.

Fastening Systems: Strong sales growth realized
Thanks to its innovative products, the Fastening Systems (FS) segment strengthened its competitive position and captured a larger share of its targeted markets. Sales grew by 13.8% to CHF 437.1 million. The launch of new products was a strong sales driver, with additional support coming from a good market environment. Organic growth amounted to 5.6% year-on-year.

SFS increased its stake in HECO to 51% to further strengthen this strategic partnership. Consequently, HECO has been consolidated by SFS Group since 1 July 2018 and it contributed 5.8% to reported sales growth for the FS segment.

Distribution & Logistics: Balanced sales trend continued
Sales in the Distribution & Logistics (D&L) segment rose by 3.6% year-on-year to CHF 334.5 million. Organic sales growth, taking into consideration the divestment of the segment’s security systems business, amounted to 5.1%, which clearly exceeds the growth rate of Switzerland's gross domestic product (a key benchmark for measuring the performance of D&L). Especially the tools sector and construction-related products displayed strong growth.

Operating profit increased to CHF 243 million
Based on the available preliminary results, SFS Group expects operating profit to show an increase of 23% (+4.2% on a like-for-like basis) to CHF 243 million. The corresponding EBIT margin of 14% of net sales will be slightly less than the given guidance of >14.3%. This is attributed primarily to mix effects, for example, from the faster rate of growth in the Fastening Systems and Distribution & Logistic segments.

The detailed and audited financial figures for the 2018 financial year will be presented at the conference for analysts and the media on 8 March 2019.

SFS receives supplier excellence award from Bosch

SFS is proud to receive the “Crazy for SuCCess” award for the second time. This prestigious award was given to six of the more than 1,000 suppliers that Bosch does business with its Chassis Systems Control Division in recognition of their status as a “most valuable and loyal supplier”.

Bosch (Robert Bosch GmbH) is a long-standing, key customer of SFS Group for whom it develops, manufactures and delivers ready-to-fit components, for example for ABS systems. These components meet demanding technical specifications, are of impeccable quality, and are produced in high quantities at competitive prices.

A local supplier for international customers

SFS was honored as one of Bosch’s most valuable and reliable suppliers. Tireless efforts to innovate and optimize and a global production platform, which allows SFS to act as a local supplier to its customers across the globe, were also cited as reasons for honoring SFS with this prestigious award. SFS was pleased to receive this award already for the second time in the short history of Bosch's “Crazy for SuCCess” award.

Participation in panel discussion

This year's award ceremony was held at Bosch’s Blaichach factory in Germany and Jens Breu, CEO of SFS Group, was invited to participate in a panel discussion there. The main topics discussed by the panel were innovation and technology challenges in today’s markets, supplier agility during project execution, and the steadily growing business complexity.

Inventing success together

SFS also took the opportunity to inform Bosch managers about its latest innovative developments and its new production platform in China, thus underscoring its constant commitment to seek success in collaboration with the customer.

SFS expands its Group Executive Board

News - 10. December 2018

SFS Group AG is strengthening its leadership team. Claude Stadler will become a member of the Group Executive Board in his current role as Head of Corporate Services, effective 1 January 2019.

The Board of Directors has resolved to give the Corporate Services unit, which comprises the Human Resources, Corporate Development and Communications departments, direct representation on the Group Executive Board. Claude Stadler, Head of Corporate Services, will therefore become a member of the Group Executive Board of SFS Group, effective 1 January 2019.

SFS is pleased to employ an executive with as much experience as Claude Stadler, who has been with SFS since 2013. He first served as Head of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations before assuming responsibility for the Corporate Services unit at the beginning of 2018.

SFS discusses strategic cooperation

News - 4. October 2018

The SFS Group is discussing the potential of a strategic collaboration with Triangle Fastener Corporation in USA.The talks are at an early stage. SFS expects first results from the discussions by the end of 2018.

Label Schweizer Arbeitgeber Award

SFS amongst the top 3 at the Swiss Employers' Award

News - 20. September 2018

The SFS Group reached 3rd place in the large companies category at the 18th Swiss Employers' Award.

At this year's Swiss Arbeitgeber Award 46'130 employees from 140 companies were rating their employer. The SFS employees from the Distribution & Logistics, Industrial and Services areas also took part in the comprehensive employee survey and answered questions on central aspects of their working situation, their work satisfaction and their commitment towards SFS. The best employers were ultimately derived from the answers from all participating companies. The SFS Group reached 3rd place in the large companies category (1000 or more employees) and therefore, as at the last participation in 2016, finished in the top 3.

The management and the whole organisation happily accept the good finish as feedback and appreciation on the part of the employees and take this opportunity to thank them for their dedication and loyalty. SFS can draw valuable indications for further development and improvement from these responses. In a broadly based process the indications will be discussed in the teams and appropriate measures taken.

The Baumann Koelliker Gruppe and the Luzerner Kantonalbank AG reached 1st and 2nd place in the large companies category.

SFS reports dynamic sales growth in 2017

News - 26. January 2018

Driven by strong organic growth of 7.4% and the first-time consolidation of Tegra Medical, SFS Group increased its sales in the 2017 financial year by 13.7% to CHF 1,632.7 million and its operating profit by 12.5%.

Strong organic growth of 7.4% fueled the positive sales developments. All segments contributed to the pleasing results. Currency movements had a marginally positive effect of 0.5% on reported sales, while changes in the scope of consolidation added a significant 5.8% to the reported sales growth.

20180126 Tabelle Umsatzentwicklung EN
20180126 Tabelle Wachstum EN

Engineered Components: Strong sales growth
The Engineered Components segment reported sales of CHF 925.8 million, an increase of 20.5% versus the previous year. Another significant acceleration in sales development was achieved during the second half compared to the first-half sales. This pleasing development is attributed equally to the first-time consolidation of Tegra Medical and to strong growth momentum at the Automotive and Electronics divisions. The realization of challenging new projects was a key factor behind the reported sales growth. Advance outlays associated with these projects resulted in additional costs. These outlays as well as project delays originating with customers temporarily lower operating profit margin.

Fastening Systems: Good momentum sustained
The Fastening Systems segment sustained its good momentum from the first half into the second half of the year and achieved sales of CHF 384.0 million. This corresponds to a growth rate of 8.0%. In an overall strong market environment, demand was high, especially for the Construction division in Europe and North America. Thanks to the market success of innovative products, the segment expanded its market share once again. Key transformational projects are nearing completion. The related cost-savings will become visible in the coming years.

Distribution & Logistics: Sales lifted by new customer projects
The Distribution & Logistics segment strengthened its market position thanks in particular to the execution of new customer projects. The business units tools and fastening systems showed very good growth. Segment sales grew a solid 3.2% to CHF 322.9 million. This increase is well above the growth rate of Switzerland's gross domestic product, which serves as an important benchmark. The strengthening of the euro led to a significant increase in procurement costs for third-party merchandise, but there was a time lag before the necessary price adjustments could be passed on to customers.

Sales by region: More balanced sales mix
In the 2017 financial year, sales showed positive growth in every region. Thanks to the successful integration of Tegra Medical, the share of sales generated in the Americas rose 39.9% and amounted to CHF 281.4 million. This acquisition has altered the regional sales mix and raised the sales contribution from the Americas region to 17.2%. Significant progress towards the targeted diversification was thus made during the year under review.

In Asia, too, year-on-year sales growth was a high 16.6%, bringing full-year sales from this region to CHF 353.9 million. Growth here is primarily attributed to the Electronics division. Business trends at the other units active in Asia were also very positive.

20180126 Tabelle Umsatz Regionen EN

Operating profit increased by 12.5%
Based on the provisional results now available, SFS Group expects its adjusted operating profit (EBITA calculated in accordance with IFRS) to increase by 12.5%. The adjusted EBITA margin is projected to be at the lower end of the given range of 14.2–15.2% due to the aforementioned extraordinary operating effects.

The detailed and audited financial accounts for the 2017 financial year, prepared in accordance with Swiss GAAP FER for the first time, will be released on 9 March 2018.

SFS launches a new online store

News - 12. February 2018

SFS’s Distribution & Logistics segment focuses on the Swiss market and offers professionals in the skilled trades and manufacturing sectors a comprehensive range of fastening systems, architectural hardware, tools and innovative logistics solutions. Customers benefit not only from the segment's extensive nationwide network of physical sales and distribution points, which include 28 HandwerkStadt retail shops, but also from its online channel, where an item, the segment offers, is only a click away.

Perfect sales platform

The new SFS store is now online at www.sfs.ch (German and French). It combines a straightforward, intuitive user interface with an appealing and responsive design that is just as user-friendly when accessed with a smartphone or tablet. Customers can quickly search and select whatever they need using the optimized search and purchase functions. One click on a product in the search results is all it takes to order any of the more than 150,000 top-quality products in the store. SFS’s online store also displays news, serves as a source of information about the vast range of products and services offered by Distribution & Logistics and includes a click-and-collect option, i.e. customers can place an express order and then collect the ordered merchandise in-store at one of the HandwerkStadt locations a mere two hours later.

High customer value

This optimized omni-channel concept is very convenient for professionals from the manufacturing and skilled trades sectors as it takes a variety of individual needs into consideration: the modern online store offers an efficient ordering process and 24-hour availability, while professional, personal support and advice is available at the local stores.

SFS Group generated dynamic sales growth in business year 2017

News - 09. March 2018

2017 was a successful year. SFS Group generated dynamic sales growth and improved its position in the medical device industry and in the Americas, thanks to the integration of Tegra Medical. Operating profit showed double-digit growth.

Driven by strong organic growth of 7.4% and the first-time consolidation of Tegra Medical, SFS Group increased its sales in the 2017 financial year by 13.7% to CHF 1,632.7 million. All segments contributed to this pleasing development. Changes in the scope of consolidation had a positive impact of 5.8% and currency movements added 0.5% to reported sales.

Financial statements 2017 according to Swiss GAAP FER

For the first time, Swiss GAAP FER accounting standards were used to prepare the financial statements for 2017 instead of IFRS. These standards are more practical for SFS Group than IFRS.

After the switch to Swiss GAAP FER and the associated shortening of the balance sheet, the equity ratio as at 31.12.2017 reaches a high 71.6% (31.12.2017 under IFRS: 80.1%). In view of this strong balance sheet, the company’s financial stability and entrepreneurial freedom remain fully intact.

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Operating profit increased
Adjusted operating profit (EBITA) rose by 10.7% and amounted to CHF 235.8 million. The adjusted EBITA margin achieved an attractive level of 14.4% (previous year 14.8%) of the total net sales, despite extraordinarily high advance outlays and expenditures in the realization of demanding new projects. Furthermore, SFS is completing important transformational projects initiated in the Fastening Systems segment. The related cost-savings will become effective in the coming years. The fast appreciation of the euro increased procurement costs, while necessary adjustments to selling prices could only be made after a certain time lag. The high dynamics as well as project activity are also reflected in the high investments made in property, plant, equipment and software of CHF 132.8 million (previous year CHF 84.6 million). Net income including proceeds from property disposals amounted to CHF 159.1 million (previous year CHF 124.8 million), which corresponds to a year-on-year increase of 27.5%.

Balanced market exposure
In the 2017 financial year, sales showed positive growth in every region. Sales generated in the Americas increased by 39.9% thanks to the successful integration of Tegra Medical and amounted to CHF 281.4 million. Due to this acquisition, the geographical sales contribution from the Americas region increased to 17.2% (previous year 14.0%). Sales generated with medical device manufacturers jumped from 1.9% (2016) to 6.4% (2017) of the total sales. Thus, a significantly broader market exposure in terms of regional and end market sales has been achieved.

20180309 Tabelle EC EN
| 1: at constant exchange rates and on the same scope of consolidation | 2: return (EBITA) in % of net operating assets (adjusted for Tegra Medical 2016) | 3: return (EBITA) in % of average capital employed without intangible assets | SGF = Swiss GAAP FER

The Engineered Components segment reported sales of CHF 925.8 million (+20.5% y-o-y), thanks to the first-time consolidation of Tegra Medical and to the strong growth momentum at the Automotive and Electronics divisions. The EBITA margin is once again at a very attractive level of 19.8% (previous year 21.2%) despite advance outlays in connection with the realization of new projects and customer-induced project delays, which had a negative effect on operating profitability.

20180309 Tabelle FS EN
| 1: at constant exchange rates and on the same scope of consolidation | 2: return (EBITA) in % of net operating assets (adjusted for Tegra Medical 2016) | 3: return (EBITA) in % of average capital employed without intangible assets | SGF = Swiss GAAP FER

The Fastening Systems segment sustained its good growth momentum from the first half into the second half of the year. It reported full-year sales of CHF 384.0 million, which corresponds to a growth rate of 8.0%. The EBITA margin for 2017 lowered to 7.7% (previous year: 9.0%) due to increased costs in connection with ongoing transformational projects.

20180309 Tabelle DL EN
| 1: at constant exchange rates and on the same scope of consolidation | 2: return (EBITA) in % of net operating assets (adjusted for Tegra Medical 2016) | 3: return (EBITA) in % of average capital employed without intangible assets | SGF = Swiss GAAP FER

The Distribution & Logistics segment strengthened its market position thanks in particular to the acquisition of new customers and realized sales growth of 3.2% to CHF 322.9 million. The segment EBITA margin came in at 9.1%. Excluding non-recurring effects, profitability for the current year as measured by the EBITA margin of 6.9% was only slightly below the level achieved in previous year (7.2%). Rapidly rising procurement costs have temporarily impacted profitability.

Shareholder payout
In view of the robust earnings and the positive outlook for future business activity, the Board of Directors will propose an increase in the payout to CHF 1.90 per share (previous year CHF 1.75), to be paid from capital contribution reserves. This payout is not subject to withholding or income tax for natural persons whose tax domicile is in Switzerland.

Outlook for the 2018 financial year
Our focus in the 2018 financial year will be on strengthening our position with existing customers and on the selective expansion of our customer base. We also intend to exploit new application areas, launch significant new projects and extract greater synergies from the transformational projects currently under way at SFS Group. All projects aimed at sharpening our production profile in the Fastening Systems segment should also be completed by the end of this year.

Assuming unchanged economic conditions, we expect sales to grow by 5–7% in 2018 and the EBIT margin to increase compared with the 2017 financial year.

Documents to the 2017 financial year
Please find the full report, summary report and the presentation on the FY2017 at www.sfs.biz/investorrelations.

The online annual report is available at annualreport.sfs.biz/en

If you wish to participate in the webcast at 11 a.m., please follow this link

and dial the following numbers 10-15 minutes prior to scheduled start:

Switzerland / Europe +41 (0) 58 310 50 00

Germany +49 (0) 69 505 0 0082

France +33 (0)1 7091 8706

United Kingdom +44 (0) 207 107 0613

United States +1 (1) 631 570 56 13

SFS shareholders approve all proposals at AGM

News - 26. April 2018

729 shareholders attended the 25th Annual General Meeting of SFS Group AG, which took place yesterday. They represented 81.9% of the votes. All proposals by the Board of Directors were approved by a large majority.

On 25 April 2018, the Chairman of the Board, Heinrich Spoerry, welcomed 729 shareholders to the 25th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of SFS Group AG at the Aegeten sports centre in Widnau (Switzerland). They represented 30.711.980 shares, which corresponds to 81.9% of the share capital.

Dynamic business year

In his short speech, Heinrich Spoerry commented on the successful 2017 financial year. SFS Group generated dynamic sales growth and improved its position in the medical device industry and in the Americas thanks to the integration of Tegra Medical. Jens Breu, CEO of the SFS Group, informed about important projects, which will lay the basis for SFS' further growth. Rolf Frei, CFO of the SFS Group, gave his comments on selected financial aspects of the 2017 financial year.

All proposals approved

During the statutory part of the meeting, shareholders approved the management report, the financial statements and the consolidated financial statements. All members of the Board of Directors were re-elected and the compensation to members of the Board of Directors and the Group Executive Board was also approved. The shareholders released both boards, the Board of Directors and the Group Executive Board, from liability for their activities.

Likewise, the law firm bürki bolt németh in Heerbrugg was re-elected as independent proxy and PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in St. Gallen was re-elected as auditor.

Payout to shareholders

The shareholders also approved the payout of CHF 1.90 per share from capital contributions reserves. This represents an increase in payout of 8.6% compared to the previous year (CHF 1.75).

SFS raises its stake in HECO to 51%

News - 17. May 2018

SFS is deepening its strategic partnership with HECO, a leading manufacturer of fastening solutions for structural timberwork, and raising its interest in the German company to 51%.

In August 2015, HECO (Ludwig Hettich GmbH & Co. KG) and SFS signed an agreement establishing a strategic partnership. SFS concurrently acquired a minority interest of 30% in HECO. Both companies are active in the structural timber market and have built strong reputations for quality and innovation. Thanks to the two companies’ largely complementary product portfolios, customers have since benefited from a more comprehensive range of products and services. Close collaboration between the two partners has created operational synergies in their manufacturing operations and sharpened their competitiveness.

Strengthening the strategic partnership

This two-year old partnership has yielded very positive results for both HECO and SFS. The advantages are becoming increasingly visible, both on the sales and the manufacturing front.

In a move to further strengthen this strategic partnership, SFS will increase its stake in HECO to 51% effective 1 July 2018. This will allow both companies to better capture growth and synergy potential and take better advantage of their respective competencies. Acquiring a majority interest in HECO will facilitate the targeted improvement in HECO’s performance within the SFS Group and have a positive effect on the headcount and business activity at the different HECO locations. HECO generated EUR 41 million in sales in 2017 and employed 322 employees (end of 2017). The company will be consolidated by SFS Group as of 1 July 2018.

SFS decides on successor in Distribution & Logistics segment

News - 28. June 2018

Iso Raunjak, currently Head of Central Logistics, takes over from Josef Zünd as Head of the Distribution & Logistics segment on 1 January 2020. After 49 successful years at SFS, Josef Zünd goes into retirement in March 2020.

In the interests of early planning, the Board of Directors has chosen Iso Raunjak to succeed Josef Zünd to head the Distribution & Logistics (D&L) segment. With Iso Raunjak, the SFS Group falls back on a highly experienced and long-term SFS manager who started his career at SFS in 1992. In his function as head of the D&L segment, Iso Rauniak will also become member of the Group Executive Board of the SFS Group AG on 1 January 2020.

Over the past 20 years, Josef Zünd considerably improved the positioning and growth of the D&L segment. Up to his retirement, Josef Zünd will remain Head of D&L and will continue to manage segment strategy and organisation in close collaboration with his successor.

On this occasion, the Board of Directors and the Group Executive Board would like to thank Josef Zünd for his prominent and untiring efforts in building up the D&L business activities.

SFS sustained good growth momentum

News - 20. July 2018

SFS sustained its good sales growth and expanded its market positions during the first half of 2018. Compared to the adjusted previous year the operating profit rose by 4.6%. High advance outlays, structural adaptions and increased raw material costs still pressured the operating profit.

SFS managed to sustain its growth momentum from the previous financial year throughout the first half of 2018. Sales amounted to CHF 855.9 million, which corresponds to an increase of 9.9% from the previous-year period. Organic sales growth came in at 7.1% and was broadly based in terms of end markets and regions, with positive contributions from all three segments. Currency translation and changes in scope of consolidation had with 2.8% a positive effect on reported sales growth.

20180720 Tabelle Konzernumsatz EN

Earnings power impacted by extraordinary operating effects
Although significant progress has been made, extraordinary operating effects continued to weigh on profitability during the first half of 2018, as had been forecast in the presentation of the annual results 2017. These temporary operating effects related to the sharp increase in the cost of materials, which was passed through to customers with a time lag, substantial advance outlays for pending growth projects, and additional costs associated with the sharpening of production profiles. Against this backdrop, EBIT amounted to CHF 116.0 million, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 13.6% (prior-year period: 10.4%; adjusted 14.2%). Whereas the second half of the financial year 2017 was distinguished by weak results – due to the above-mentioned extraordinary effects – SFS expects the opposite pattern in the current financial year.Profitability is forecast to improve significantly during the second half of the year thanks to the measures taken, the positive seasonal effects in the second half, as well as the passing on of price increases to customers.

Net income for the period amounted to CHF 88.9 million or 10.4% of the net sales.

Major investments in future growth
Capital expenditure on property, plant and equipment amounted to CHF 69.5 million, which corresponds to an increase of 44.0% from the previous-year period. Most of these investments (75.9%) were made in the Engineered Components segment, which also displays the highest return on capital employed.

The high level of capital expenditure, triggered by key customer projects, will continue during the second half of the year. SFS expects capital expenditure for the year as a whole to equal over 8.5% of net sales.

Entrepreneurial freedom thanks to solid balance sheet
SFS’ balance sheet remains familiarly solid. The equity ratio stood at 71.1% (31 Dec. 2017: 71.6%). Net debt amounted up to CHF -0.4 million.

Engineered Components Segment: Growth maintained
The healthy growth momentum witnessed during the preceding fiscal year continued into the first half of 2018. Organic growth amounted to 7.6%. Supported by positive currency effects, reported sales of CHF 473.2 million were up 10.5% over the figure from the prior-year period. As in 2017, the two key contributors to this growth were the Automotive and the Electronics divisions.

The earnings power of Engineered Components continued to be pressured in the first half of 2018 by high levels of advance outlays in preparation for future growth projects and by increased raw material costs. EBIT amounted to CHF 83.9 million, or 17.6% of net sales (prior-year period: 12.7%, adjusted 19.6%). SFS expects margins to recover during the second half of 2018, thanks to the pass-through of the higher costs to customers, which has taken longer than expected to achieve, and new product launches.

Fastening Systems Segment: Growth driven by innovation
The sales momentum from the previous fiscal year was maintained during the period under review. Sales amounted to CHF 213.0 million, 12.0% more than in the first half of 2017. Organic growth amounted to 6.9%. Fastening Systems continued to strengthen its market position amid a robust market environment, thanks to its offering of compelling products and services. Both divisions contributed broadly to overall sales growth.

Due to good progress on the operating front, reported EBIT of CHF 20.7 million for the first half of 2018 topped the previous-year figure by 12.2%. The EBIT margin stood at 9.4% (prior-year period: 9.3%). SFS expects segment sales and earnings to show positive trends in the second half of 2018.

Thanks to the increase in SFS’s stake in HECO to 51%, growth and synergy potential and the core competencies of each partner are now being exploited even more effectively. HECO has been fully consolidated by SFS Group since 1 July 2018.

Distribution & Logistics Segment: Accelerated growth
The Distribution & Logistics (D&L) segment reported faster sales growth than in 2017. Sales amounted to CHF 169.7 million, which corresponds to an increase of 5.9% compared with the previous-year period.

D&L’s distinctive offering in several market segments was profiled more effectively during the period under review. Examples here are the launch of the new online shop, a more focused offering for specialty retailers and the sale of the security systems business that belonged to the unit of architectural hardware operations.

Sharply higher procurement costs continued to impact D&L's profits in 2018. These increased costs on the supply side were passed through to customers after a longer-than-expected time lag. Nevertheless, segment operating profit rose by 9.2% y-o-y to CHF 12.4 million. The EBIT margin came in at 7.2% (prior-year 7.0%). SFS expects a positive trend in the second half of 2018.

In order to ensure an orderly succession process, the Board of Directors announced that Iso Raunjak will succeed Josef Zünd as Head of the D&L segment. In this role Iso Raunjak will also become a member of the Group Executive Board of SFS Group AG on 1 January 2020.

Positive developments expected
On the assumption that the general economic environment remains basically unchanged, SFS expects sales to continue to grow in the second half of 2018 and full-year sales growth to amount to 7–9% over the previous financial year. Due to the subsiding impact of the above-mentioned extraordinary operating effects and the positive seasonal trends in the second half, profitability should improve and SFS reiterates its projection of an EBIT margin in excess of 14.3% for the financial year 2018.

The half-year report for 2018 can be downloaded at: www.sfs.biz/investorrelations