R&M: shimmers of light on the horizon
Date: Mon, 04/26/2010 - 17:41
Swiss cabling specialist Reichle & De-Massari AG (R&M) reported sales of CHF 192 million in fiscal year 2009 (EUR 130 million). That is 22 percent less than in 2008. “At the start of 2009, the decline in sales was not foreseeable in the magnitude in which it came. This drop reflects the tough market environment,” CEO Martin Reichle said. “We did manage to offset part of the decline in the final quarter. I see light on the horizon,” Martin Reichle added. EBIT for 2009 amounted to 6 percent. “That is a satisfactory result, especially because we con-sciously dispensed with far-reaching cost cutting and continued unabated with strategically important projects. We knew we were going to break even for quite some time but actually ended up with a small profit,” Martin Reichle noted.
Exports as a percent of total business fell to 75 percent (previous year: 78 percent). The economic and financial crisis was less severe in Switzerland so Swiss business increased as a share of total business. Profit in Switzerland did, however, decline slightly. The main markets were hit hard by the global economic and financial crisis. R&M achieved growth only in India and Hungary. Initial estimates indicate that R&M slightly increased its market shares in all regions in comparison with its competitors.
The two business segments diverged in performance. R&M sustained a 21 percent decline in sales in the market for private networks (data centers, buildings, offices, clinics, industrial applications, etc.). Profit in the market for telecom networks, for its part, fell by just 16 percent.
The number of employees declined to 600 (previous year: 650). In the spring of 2009 a handful of employees had to be dismissed. The other staff reductions resulted from natural turnover and a reduction in temporary positions. At the same time, R&M increased the num-ber of employees in product management and in research and development as part of an intentional effort to push for solutions for data centers, Fiber To The Home (FTTH) and new copper technologies such as Cat. 6A. New cabling solutions and several strategic projects are crucial for making R&M fit for the coming upturn. One of the main strategic projects is the new Innovation, Production and Logistics Center built at the headquarters in Wetzikon. In addition, R&M set up a second regional logistics hub in 2009, this time in the United Arab Emirates. In the future, R&M wants to shift more responsibility, expertise and support services to the seven sales regions so it can be more responsive to customers and work more closely with partner electricians locally.